It’s April, and most years we’d be completing a routine round of hellos to new students and goodbyes to old ones. This year is special of course in that we’re closing for good in a few months, so we have a lot more goodbyes and not so many hellos.
Students leave for a lot of reasons, some of which aren’t clear to us, but one reliable one for high school seniors from December to February is juken, or entrance exams. Sometimes the last we see of them is them heading out the door a bit awkwardly while one of their parents sticks behind and explains that the practice exams haven’t been going well, and you see…
We don’t really care about exams, but we care a lot about our students. Sometimes when our teenage students quit to go on to the next stage of their lives, and we know that no matter what school they get into they’ll be moving away and we probably won’t see them again, they stop by before moving to say a pretty emotional goodbye. We absolutely love this. We like to think of ourselves as stridently humanistic educators, and having had an effect on another human’s life and memories means infinitely more to us than whether they got into a prestigious national university or a low-ranked private one. I’m pretty sure in 20 or so years when we’re looking back and saying to ourselves, “remember when we owned an English school?” we’ll still have some these memories rattling around. If we are the kind of teachers we like to imagine ourselves as, our students will remember the moments of connection like these too, more than their exam scores.
On goodbyes too we sometimes are lucky enough to get things like this:
Goodbyes like this really make a teacher feel great.