When we made plans to visit New York for Hamilton (!!!) and Dear Even Hansen (!!!)) I was conflicted about visiting my old high school and lower school. I grew up in Riverdale, went to the same school for 16 years and then moved to Boston. When we said goodbye to our house and sold it I swore I was finished with Riverdale. I opted out of my five year reunion because my high school experience wasn’t overall the most amazing life experience. The teachers made it wonderful but I lost touch and never connected with most of my classmates.
Having the opportunity to go back had me thinking if I wanted to do that. I knew it would create a lot of emotions for me and might not be something I was open to doing at this point. In the end I decided to. I was excited to see the lower school because it has been 10 years since I left. One high school teacher who shaped me in many ways is moving to Israel at the end of this year so I knew I needed to say goodbye to him.
There is something disarming and shocking about walking around an institution you went to for so long when so many changes have been made and you are at a different point in your life. The building looks different, the teachers are different and I don’t recognize any of the kids there. It is very special to have conversations with teachers you had years later when you are also working as a teacher.
It was really special seeing my old high school teachers. The conversations felt more mature and I walked away feeling proud of who I became as a teacher. A lot of big influencers who made me the teacher I am today work in the high school still. It was rewarding to show them who I’d become and be able to tell them how much what they have done for me has meant. As a teacher to third graders when my kids say they love me or thank you for being my teacher it melts my heart. I understand the impact it has on a teacher when a student says it to them and I am glad to know I gave that feeling to my previous teachers and principals.