Dear Alumni,

When you come to visit us on campus, tell me your name.

What? Don’t I remember you?  Yes, of course I do.

The time you stuck the metal forceps into the electrical outlet to see how deep it was, resulting in the shorting out of the entire classroom and your near-electrocution?  I will never forget it.

The time I had to yell at you to come down off the roof of the foreign language building because a plastic frisbee was not worth your life? I remember that.

The time you guiltily asked me whether someone might possibly get sick and die from peeling paint off the Rock in the middle of the Quad and eating it? How could I possibly forget?

The time you passed out during the birth video because you forgot to breathe.  The time you passed out during the cat dissection when a rib snapped.  The time you passed out at the microscope for no reason at all.  I remember.

Also, the time that you finally got an A on a Biology test, and you flashed a smile for a nanosecond – the only one I saw that year? I remember that too.

When you came to my class after school to ask for an extension, and brought two friends for moral support.  I remember.

When you stared anxiously at your Planaria for half an hour, worried that it wouldn’t survive the regeneration experiment.  I remember.

Your theater roles.  Your dance routines.  The pictures from your equestrian tournament.  Prom.  Asking me to proof your forensics speech.  Looking over your college essays.  Of course I remember.

But the only thing worse than forgetting a former student’s name is calling an alumnus by the wrong name.  You see, I’ve got 85 current students popping in and out of my class all day, expecting me to remember their missed assignments, make-up tests, extra credit, absence counts, and early dismissals.  It’s a full time job, I tell you.  Please, please, please, don’t be offended if you swing by for a visit and your name doesn’t fly out of my mouth in exclamation.    Has it been two years since you graduated?  Ten years?  Sometimes it is hard to remember the chronology.  Sometimes, your name is on the tip of my tongue, but I hesitate because I’m afraid I’m remembering the wrong name out of the thousand I have learned in the last decade.  If you’ll recall, in class, I always tried to give you context.

So please, return the favor.  Unless you want to be relegated to “Sweetie” from now until the end of my carreer, come in to my class and say, “Hi, it’s _____ !”  And I will be ever so grateful.

Fondly,

Your Increasingly Aged Teacher

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