I regret not having taken a picture of ours at the restaurant, but I had an interesting lunch today. The lunch itself was normal, but at the table there were three of us. A current student of mine, her mother, and I sat at the same table, stood in a buffet line, and had fun talking over lunch. Huh…do you imagine that it was me that asked my student out and she brought her mother together? Not a chance.
What’s special about this meeting was that this student’s mother was my former co-worker and that we hadn’t seen each other for over twenty years. She noticed my name printed on the school newsletter (my name is so easy to notice!!) and easily realized that I was her old co-worker and told her daughter to hint at the possibility that I once worked together with her mother.
I do not expect this kind of encounter to happen so often (and neither do you at work!), so I really liked it. Come to think of it, however, I came a long way. I was still very young when I was working with this mother of a high school senior.
So, I spent a little while thinking about what I was doing back then. Yes, I taught English grammar, but I NOW teach all the grammar points differently. Twenty years ago, I was asked for advice quite often, but most advice that I offered in those days would not be the same as what I will NOW if I am asked. I taught TOEFL from time to time twenty years ago, but the way I teach TOEFL now is quite different (mainly because the TOEFL itself differed in format – PBT vs iBT).
Just like any other profession, teaching needs changing. The environment changes. The learners change. The test changes. And what’s most important is that the teacher himself keeps brushing up his English and the way it is taught.
So I was glad to know my teaching was greatly different from what it was twenty years ago. But that’s about teaching. I am no different from what I was, and neither is she.