Hi, I'm Mike, I went to high school with....
That's how I introduce myself whenever I attend a former student's wedding. It leads to all sorts of confusion.
Even better was the time I was at the wedding of two former students. I had just dropped around 65 pounds and was wearing my hair differently. I sat at a table filled with former students that didn't recognize me – they had no reason to expect me, out of context and all. I joined the conversation - able to go toe to toe on stories of "the old days at Stuy." It really confused them. We all had a good laugh when I outed myself.
Over the years, a many of my graduates have moved from student to friend and I've shared life events with a number of them. Rule one is that I don't reach out to them after graduation - that would just be creepy. If, however, they reach out to me, then we stay in touch. As an educator, even if it's a periodic note or update, it's something that really touches me - it reminds me that even with all the teacher bashing going on in this country, the kids, at least some of the time, appreciate us.
This weekend was particularly memorable for me. I was at JonAlf and Jamie's wedding. JonAlf falls in a special category.
He was a former student and also on my fencing teams. I don't remember how much we stayed in touch, but it must have been enough for me to know that he minored in CS and was teaching high school at Brandeis.
When I heard Brandeis was being phased out and I saw we had a couple of math openings, I tried to find him to bring him over to Stuy. You try finding JonAlf Dyrland-Weaver in "the system." Is it Jon Dyrland? Alf Weaver? JonAlf Dyrland? Nothing worked. In any event I did eventually find him. Unfortunately, I wasn't allowed to bring him on in spite of his being a Stuy graduate with a CS background and a successful teaching record. Nonetheless I kept trying and a couple of years later I got him.
Since then, JonAlf has been my partner in crime. A kindred spirit whom I describe him as a younger hipper version of me although the hip bar was set pretty low to begin with.
In addition to the lunacy - The Blues Brothers, Austin Powers and Dr. Evil, Clyde "Thluffy" Sinclair, the CS Semi Formal and all, he's one of the best teachers I know. A former student that I'm now proud to call friend and colleague.
I was touched to be included in the festivities this weekend. I'm incredibly proud of JonAlf as a teacher, a person, and a friend. He and Jamie looked so happy together and I just know that their union will be as amazing as Devorah and mine has been.
So this post is my way of raising a glass to JonAlf and Jamie.