Do You Know Who I Am?

Tags: , ,


I haven’t a clue.

It never fails.  I will be out and about, minding my own business, and some snot-nosed 27 year old will walk up say…

“Do you remember me?”


Remember you?


I haven’t a clue.

If I had you in class thirteen years ago, things have changed.

I’ve had 87,412 students since then.

You are older.

Your hair is different.

You’ve had kids.  Lost weight.  Gained weight.  Gotten shorter.  Grew a foot.

Done 4 years of hard time.  Tattooed up.

Had kids of your own.

Possibly even pierced things that shouldn’t be pierced.

I’ve gotten older.  Less wise.  Tired.  And even more confused.

Usually it’s a combination of several of these things and they all add up to “I think I know you, but I’m not really sure why”.

I usually get the sense we’ve crossed paths, but have no concept of when or where.

So, if you walk up to me please know I’m going to have a stupid, uncomfortable, lost, and confused look on my face.


Until, you do us both a favor and say who you are.

This is a basic rule of introducing yourself.  Introduce yourself.

Because when a student is in school, they have one superintendent.  One principal.  And one teacher for each class.

We have dozens of students.  Or hundreds.  And even thousands.

Multiply that by 10, 20, or 30 years and it’s a lot of kids.

Most of which won’t look the same after they graduate.

Which means I won’t always know who you are.

When students leave, they are forever frozen in time.  At least in my mind.

So while, I may not remember you, I will probably remember the 1994 version of you.

Of course, none of this is true if you were really challenging in school.  If there was a suspension, there’s a pretty good chance I’ll remember your face.  And your beady little eyes.

Tags: , ,

8 Responses to “Do You Know Who I Am?”

  1. Karen Marcus
    on Sep 11th, 2011
    @ 6:44 pm

    Over the years I have also had many students come up and ask if I remembered who he or she was. It is usually said with a wistfulness and wishfulness that indicates the child that is still inside wants to know if he or she was important enough to be remembered. I remember one boy, after asking if I remembered him (which I did and said yes) then asked if he was a good student. He…wasn’t ….in the sense that everything was hard for him, but I said, yes, he was extremely hard working (the truth) and I always remembered that. I still remember his audible sigh of relief.

  2. Taylor Lane
    on Sep 11th, 2011
    @ 9:03 pm

    I’m not a teacher yet. I am in school studying to be one, but I have never thought about what it will be like in the future to help push students along hopefully into bettering their life. Then years later being recognized by them and not having a clue who they are. Also, after reading this I probably won’t feel so bad if this ever happens to me because I’ll know that I’m not the only one.

  3. Christine Nathan
    on Sep 11th, 2011
    @ 9:25 pm

    Today a student I had 4 years ago bagged my groceries. He called me by my name and said it was nice to see me. I agreed. . A couple of months ago I was shopping and a girl from 10 years ago asked me if I ever taught in her home town, and although I didn’t remember her name, she did look very familiar. When I see students that look familiar I come home and pull out the yearbooks and look through them until I find them. I seem to remember the students I had longer ago than the ones I just had a year ago. Since I am an Cross Cat. Special Ed. teacher I tend to get the most challenging kids and will remember them for the rest of my life because of their dynamic, energetic, and unpredictable personalities, of course!

  4. Pat
    on Sep 12th, 2011
    @ 4:08 pm

    I was crushed when a former student found me on Facebook and when I finally recalled who she was, she dropped a bombshell. Her grandchild was about to be born! AAAAH! Where did the years go? Surely I can’t be THAT old!

    Michael Smith Reply:

    @Pat, O-L-D.

    And I’m gaining on you.

  5. Claire Cheeseman
    on Sep 13th, 2011
    @ 4:07 am

    Gotta say it is quite affirming when x-students want to speak to you and hope you remember them. I frequently gush that ‘of course I remember you how are you doing?’ and hope the name thing doesn’t come up – asking what they are doing always helps and I have often been saved by other students calling them [and therefore giving me their name]. My mega problem is I have a terrible habit of nicknaming children or shortening names so those are the ones I remember and the troublesome/interesting students are the ones you remember most of all.
    It is a delight for students to ‘want’ to communicate with you though – I find that quite heart warming sometimes – it often happens when you most are in need of it and are questioning your validity as a teacher.
    Continue to LOVE reading your blog!

  6. Debbie Shuler
    on Sep 14th, 2011
    @ 12:33 am

    I have been teaching for 22 years in the same high school in a small town. My grandchildren think I am a celebrity because, no matter where we go, someone says “Hi” and calls me by name. We were even on vacation in another state when a hostess in the restaurant walked up to me and asked, “Are you Mrs. Shuler?” Stunned, I replied affirmatively. She said,”Well, one of our workers said you were his teacher in high school. The young man and I spoke for a while, then I returned to eat with my shocked family. It was days later when I remembered that this same young man had failed my class. Luckily, we all survived and no one got food poisoning. I always warn my new students that I am terrible with names. I tell them that I had three daughters and could never get their names right either (sad but true). I simply call everyone “sweetie” and “darling” and forget about names. Not sure if an administrator could get away with that though! Enjoying your blog. I have shared the link with my principals and our superintendent. Keep’em comin’!

    Michael Smith Reply:

    @Debbie Shuler, Great story.

Leave a Reply


While this site operates with the knowledge and awareness of the Tuscola CUSD #301 School Board, Tuscola, Illinois, the content and opinions posted here may or may not represent their views personally or collectively, nor does it attempt to represent the official viewpoint of Tuscola CUSD #301 administrators or employees.