One billion years ago, I taught a third grader named Kaity to multiply.
Last night, as Elysha and I were leaving for a Moth StorySLAM in Somerville, I asked Kaity, now an adult and frequent babysitter to our children, to help my third grade daughter with her multiplication homework.
It was surreal.
No one ever told me that so many of my former students would remain in my life as they have, and I could never predicted that when I was teaching Kaity to multiply all those years ago, I was also investing in my daughter's future.
Being a teacher is full of surprises.
When we arrived at The Moth a couple hours later, we discovered that four of my former storytelling students were at the show, their names already in the bag, hoping to tell their stories. For all but one, it was their first time at The Moth.
I wasn't called to the stage last night, but three of my four students were called. They all performed brilliantly, and one of them, Tom Ouimet, won the slam!
It was quite a night for a storytelling teacher, listening to stories that I had helped to develop, told on stage so well by storytellers who I've spent lots of time with honing their craft.
As a teacher, you can never know where the lessons you teach might take root and grow. And it's impossible to predict where the fruits of that labor will flourish.
It would've been nice to take the stage and perform last night, but as a teacher, I found a far greater reward than the applause of a audience and the opportunity to come out on top.