Having taught 40 years (two years — Terrell County, two years — Early County, one year — Baker County and 35 years — Dougherty County), I usually come in contact with at least one of my former students anytime I am out and about. There is always praise and thanksgiving.
Many times we exchange hugs and/or kisses. Most of my former students have made wise choices and are successful in their varied careers. Occasionally, I get treats of some kind.
Two of my most recent encounters were really exceptional, and I was overwhelmed with gratitude, joy and appreciation!
The first loving experience occurred about four weeks ago during my checkout at Fred’s on North Slappey. I discovered that I was 50 cents short. My former student, who had given me a “bear hug” earlier and was still within earshot, instructed me to put my money in my purse because he was paying for my order. I thought that was awesome!
The second loving experience occurred three weeks ago. While shopping at Publix, another former student recognized me and we embraced and did reflections on the school days as well as his current career, etc. As I began to check out, I noticed that he was standing near the cashier. When she completed my order, my former student said, “I am taking care of this!” He related that his most memorable reflection of his high school days was of his father, who passed and left his mother with 12 children, three of whom were in my classes. He readily recalled the loving and kind expressions of sympathy and compassion extended to his family during their bereavement, and this was only a small token of his appreciation.
It was always my desire to love, teach and reach out to all of my students. Although they sometimes felt I was too stern and required too much, they knew, without a doubt, that I meant it for their good and I continuously challenged them to do nothing less than their very best.
“May the work I have done, speak for me!”
ANNETTE HARRIS BULLARD