Saw one of my charter high school students on the subway today. I taught 11th and 12th grade there before starting grad school.
Kid used to sit in class and draw. And draw and draw. Never paid much attention but was otherwise a nice kid.
Former student: "Wow! Ms. recent Ph.D! Nice to see you! Are you still teaching?"
Me: "No. I left Charter School and taught at Grad U for awhile, but it didn't work out. I work at a think tank now. What are you doing these days?"
Former student: "I'm a freelance artist and graphic designer."
Me: "That's great!"
Former student, who seemed both happy with hir life and happy to see me, is older now than I was when I started teaching at Charter School.
The most distinct memory I have of this student involves an incident with hir and another calling each other "motherfucker" in class. They wouldn't stop, and so I told them they had to look up the word and copy down the definition -- 25 times. "Is that what you really meant to call each other?" I asked.
No, of course not, but reaching that conclusion was very dramatic and difficult, involving a trip to the principal's office and detention.
I'm glad ze is doing well now, leading a normal adult life.
Would that us postacademics, especially those currently unemployed or adjuncting, will end up doing at least as well as our students in the not too distant future