Number one in my reflections of teaching has got to be the students. Some of the adjectives which come to mind are energetic, exciting, genuine, creative and unpretentious to name a few. With qualities like this it was always stimulating for me to be in a classroom. You never knew what was coming next and you had to be ready for it.
Variety of students alone would have made the whole experience challenging and interesting. First the range in abilities in most classes was extremely wide. You had the little guys who were only managing to keep their head above water. Then there were extremely brilliant people. With the brilliant people teaching skills, appreciation,facts or understanding all material was like dropping a pebble down a deep well and hearing it bounce off the sides of the pipe all the way down. They took everything in and related it to the bank of knowledge they already had . Many times these were indicated by idiosyncratic behaviours. One boy had a noticeable little giggle after processing everything. Others you could sort of watch their eyes and "see the wheels turning" so to speak. The poor little guy who was just getting the basics gave the smile as he understood the concept.
Style of learning was always interesting to notice. I'm afraid that I could not always accommodate this one in my bag of tricks. One girl in particular repeated everything aloud to herself. It sometimes drove me batty as well as the kids sitting beside her . But this is the way she learned best. I'm sure many other students had the same style of learning and that for some along the way they had been discouraged from this habit as it was considered to be distracting for other students.
For me each student had a unique personality and this was interesting to get to know. It made it easier for me to consider individual differences. Since I still live in the area where I taught I meet former parents. First, they are amazed that I remember their child after such a long time . Second , they are amazed that I remember something about the child. I tell them that they gave me their child for a year so the least I could do is get to know them. Then it's automatic to remember them.
Now it wasn't always sweetness. There were some bad apples. Bad apples had to be dealt with in their own individual ways. There was always tremendous support from administrators and guidance personnel. Many times these were learning situations as how to or how not to handle a situation. A very high percentage of the bad apples grew into good apples . I taught in one district for 28 years so many former students sent their children to me. These people had turned out to be honorable citizens and good, supportive parents.
So I have many positive memories when it comes to students. Students made the career really tick!