5 Things You Can Learn from Ex-Students

Teaching is a two-way street, so they say. Of course, for all the time they’re with us, teachers would cross the street to avoid encountering a pupil outside of school, and they would do likewise. Once they’ve graduated onto the next phase of their lives, however, the rules suddenly change and a cordial tête-à-tête is actually somewhat coveted. And, as if to prove that you never stop learning, these encounters can be among the most educational. Here are five things that we’ve learnt from chance meetings with grown-up alumni.

It was nothing personal

Adolescents have it tough. They take it out on those they’re closest to. And that includes teachers. Once the hormones have stopped raging and they’ve turned into well-balanced human beings, it’s heartening to be told that the surliness seemingly directed at you was not intentional and you were in fact rather well liked.

Academic success is an unreliable arbiter of life success

The ‘best and the brightest’ do not always go on to great things. Conversely, the impudent and ignorant will often find a way in life. We know full well that league tables only tell half the story so it should come as no surprise that so-called ‘failures’ (according to GCSE results) turn the tables on us. Then again, teachers are also becoming experts in mental health who know to pay just as much attention to how something’s said as to what’s said and not to equate earnings potential with happiness and fulfilment.

Everyone matures in time

Even as they hit their twenties, catch a former student swigging an alcoholic drink or having a sly ciggie at the bus stop and they’ll instinctively go to hide it, as if they’re still fifteen-year-olds breaking the law. Once over that initial jolt, however, the students you remember as delinquent tearaways will often amaze you with the sophistication of their conversation, to the point that you forget that position of seniority entirely.

Even if they were detested, everyone wants to go back to their school days

Rose-tinted glasses are powerful contraptions. The kids who couldn’t wait for the final bell (and, indeed, often didn’t wait) describe their time in the classroom as halcyon days to be cherished. And while stifling the desire to say, “Welcome to the real world”, you start to concede that even former nemeses had their sweet spots and begin talking them into a teaching career if they miss lessons that much… or is that the ultimate teacher revenge?!

Time stands still for no-one

“Was it really that long ago? I feel so old!” Ok, now you’re beginning to enrage us again just like you used to; don’t forget, we’ve got at least another decade on you!

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