Bob Evans. That in itself is almost perfect, but then things got even better. I looked up and a former student, A.J. (Ashley Jones) walked in the door. It had been a couple of years since I had seen her. She had her ever-present smile as the hostess escorted her and her date to their seat.
After we finished and were preparing to leave A.J. rushed up. With that big grin she asked, "Mr. McGuire, how are you?" As we talked, she told me that she would be graduating from Ohio University in the spring. She was doing an internship with an accounting firm this quarter. In fact, she was doing so well they had guaranteed her a job upon graduation.
As we talked, I realized, I have the best job in the world. Listening to A.J. talk about her life, and the success that she was having, and the credit she gave to her time at Laurelville was so gratifying. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that I was so lucky. There is no other job where you get a gift like A.J. gave me. Seeing her appreciative attitude, and her extension of friendship was better than Christmas morning.
Of all of the aspects of teaching, none compare with seeing former students. There is something so special about hearing about their successes, and seeing how students grow and mature. Luckily, I live in a community that is small enough that I have this chance frequently. But, I can't ever get enough. The more I see former students, the more I enjoy it. More and more, I appreciate having a job where I can see young people work hard and earn their success.
When A.J. was a sixth grader, there was no doubt she would be successful. She worked hard, was responsible, and treated everyone with kindness and respect. However, seeing her as an adult, earning her way in the world, makes me feel great to be a small stop along the route of her success. Nothing beats seeing former students build a successful life.
To all of my former students, you make my day, every day, and as I always say, stop by when you get a chance and tell me about all of your successes. You make teaching the absolute best job!