Occasionally, I run into students outside of school. Usually it’s slightly awkward for me as I struggle to remember their name out of the context of the classroom and their classmates, and sometimes, as in the night before Halloween, it’s awkward because I’m walking down the street with my roommates, carrying open beers and heading to a bar.
Less frequently, it’s awkward because the student is weird. This afternoon, I ran into a kid who I really only taught for three or four lessons, but who nevertheless always greets me loudly: “Teacher India!” He never says hello or good morning or anything else, only the teacher’s name. To be fair to the kid, he’s only been in English classes for four months or so, but on the other hand, he’s one of the best students in that class and it surprises me that he doesn’t try to branch out any farther. The encounter kept getting more awkward, since we ran into each other at a bakery I don’t even usually go to anymore and wound up going in the same direction almost all the way to my house. At one point, I stopped to pointlessly adjust my headphones just to fall back a little.
But there are also the great little run-ins, and after I lost Toby/Eric (he changed his name because Toby can sound like “pen-thief”), I saw Leah and her whole family. Leah is one of my favorites from Tara’s class that I’ve subbed for long stretches, and it was just sweet to see her, say hi and keep walking.