I can’t remember when exactly I joined facebook. A few years ago, I guess. (Okay, I just looked and the first profile picture I posted was August 2007.) At first, I joined because a few friends of mine were on it and suggested that it was better than that “other” social site. (I agree.)
I started off finding out some online friends on it. Then my brothers, a few cousins. People from our preschool and elementary school. Soon, people were adding me left and right. At first, I didn’t quite “get it. People’s husbands I didn’t really know wanted to add me and I just wasn’t that comfortable with it. A guy I knew in college looked me up and it kind of weirded me out that someone from so long ago would look me up. I laugh at my outlook then, because I’ve done a 180.
Since then, I’ve reconnected with people from college, high school, and even elementary school! Since then, I’ve reconnected with people I taught with, and people I worked with at one of the funnest jobs I’ve ever had – Universal studios. Since then, almost all of my 20 cousins have joined, and some aunts and uncles, even my parents. In fact, growing up, I didn’t see my cousins a lot, so it’s nice to get to know them better through facebook, of all things.
Most recently something pretty crazy happened. About 6 months ago, 2 of my 4th grade students found me, most presumably through one of the other teachers on the site. Then, a few months later a former kindergarten student of mine found me. I couldn’t believe she remembered me after all this time. After all, the 4th graders were about 10 years ago, but the kindergarten class I taught was more like 16 years ago.
Last week, I got a request from a familiar name, and then another. Soon, I was reconnecting with a third of my very first kindergarten class… ever! I don’t even know where to begin with this. First, I’m blown away that so many of them keep in touch with each other. That warms my heart… my oldest friends are from elementary school, but there are only 2 of them that I really keep up with. Secondly, that they looked for me. They remembered my first name, and looked for me. I don’t remember my teachers’ first names… at least not the elementary teachers. Thirdly, they’ve all been so sweet. Some of them have told me some really really nice things, and even said “Thank you.”
Now, I was 22 when I started teaching this class. Not only was this the very first class I taught, but there were a few challenges we started with.
My aide left the country 2 weeks before school started.
We had a flood in the classroom the week before school started.
We started school with no desks.
And no books.
And no supplies.
And no crayons.
And no aide.
In fact, the first day, I had no idea what the protocol was for simply walking the kids out to the gate, or which students stayed for after school care.
For the first two weeks, I borrowed broken crayons from the first grade teacher and worksheets for the children to do. I had to wing some of the instruction until I had the materials I needed. Every time we needed to color, we had to line up and go outside to the lunch tables to do it, since we had no desks. The kids were pretty resisilent and adaptable, which really helped!
Somehow, along the way, we all made it. We had our ups and downs. I made mistakes. My kids taught me a lot that year. They taught me about patience and love and strength. Though it’s been 18 years, I remember that class, and always will. I can’t tell you what a gift it’s been to hear from them this week. Sometimes, when you wonder if you’ve made a difference in the world, you get a sign that tells you, simply, “Yes.”