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Last week I had a proud teacher moment. No, it wasn't a brilliant lesson I planned or taught. No, it wasn't a wonderful assessment that all my students passed. No, it didn't even happen in my classroom.
It was a single moment.
I stand outside the convenience store talking to my sister on my cellphone because I don't like talking on it in public. I hang up, go inside, and fill my cup with ice. As I stand there at the soda fountain, I feel a tap, tap on my shoulder. I look up and see a nice looking young man standing there.
"You probably don't remember me," he says.
I think, oh this is a former student. Please, oh please memory, don't fail me now. As I look at him, he twitches his nose and I reply. "Of course I remember you Avery!" (Luckily the nose twitching gave it away.)
Knowing that he was in my very first class, he should have graduated last spring. "So, what are you doing? You graduated, right?"
"Yea, I am going to VU for welding and I am a mechanic at Westport Auto."
"That is great!"
"I also have a daughter who is a year old now."
"Do you have a picture?"
He whips out his phone and shows me his beautiful little girl.
"She is adorable. What is her name?"
"Ava. And here is my fiancé. I thought that was you standing out there on your phone. I wanted to wait until you got off the phone before I said anything to you."
I hug him and say, "Avery, I am so proud of how you got your life together. You have a beautiful family and a wonderful career ahead of you. I am so glad you said something to me."
Avery was a student in my first class. After 5th grade, he moved to the county school, and I hadn't seen him until that night. Avery was also one of those students who I worried about. Who I wanted to take home and just show him what a family looked like and how it felt to be loved unconditionally.
I know he didn't have to stop and say hello. But he did.
It was a single moment this teacher won't soon forget.