(Not former students, but guests and fellow teachers/pastors)
As we left church, a young man came up to us with a question Greg and I always dread, “Do you remember me?” Greg asked his forgiveness and asked for a reminder. “Would it help if I gave you the number you assigned me in class?” he asked with a smile. Greg and I chuckled a little and I asked astonishedly, “do you remember that?” The young man had been in one of Greg’s earliest ABC classes, and because he had about 100 students in each class, and because the students tended to change their names and the spelling of their names, he ended up just asking the students to put a number on their papers along with their names. It helped with attendance, too. I don’t think the former student actually remembered his number, but he thought that it was a brilliant idea to help his grading by using numbers.
The student told us that he had been doing well in the three years since graduation. He had tried some farming, but had some difficult years, and eventually got a job in telecommunications. We joked a bit about that, because the company he was working for was struggling alternatively with security of services and usefulness of the apps. We expressed our optimism that the former student could fix these problems now that he was on the “inside.” We also exchanged numbers, planning to meet up with him to see if he might be interested in some of the sustainable agriculture trainings that some of our pastors and partners groups had been pursuing.
As we finished our discussion, I saw another one of Greg’s former students walking across the parking lot. He was on his way into church, so we couldn’t talk long, but we oohed and awed over his new baby girl, and his two-year-old, who we couldn’t believe was so big already. This student, one of Greg’s best, has been serving at our church, and just opened a new youth center which is scheduled to launch with a symposium for young professionals next week.
Greg and I left the parking lot, and Greg mentioned how he always felt weird not remembering if he had given a particular student a good grade or not. We remembered together the student who called out to us on the street from a minibus complaining about his grade in a class. At this point, I wonder if Greg has taught a thousand students between the three colleges he has taught at during the seven years we have been here. I wonder how many lives he might have impacted.