I referred previously to the system working well in my absence, and in the past I had been worried about whether that would be the case. I’ve been running the Smiths school here in Nagaoka for a number of years, and having experienced a few birthing pangs at the beginning, feel entirely justified in treating it like my “baby”. In fact some of the students have continued with the school from the very first year, and naturally I’ve built up a very close and rewarding relationship with them.
So earlier this year when I started working at a university, I was quite concerned at how some of my long-timers would react to me leaving them in the hands of another teacher. There was one student in particular who I dreaded telling because I didn’t know how he would react to me putting an end to our six-year long weekly “conversation.” When the time came to tell him, he seemed quite pensive but said he was pleased for me as he knew it was an opportunity I’d been looking to take. I was worried that he was just being as courteous as ever, and feared he may end up leaving the school. I became especially alarmed when a couple of hours later the doorbell rang and he returned unscheduled. In fact he had not come back to tell me he planned to leave, but had returned with a gift to congratulate me on my new appointment!
Of course he’s still with us now and coming to class as regularly as ever, so now I look forward to seeing him when I have time off, or can organise the next school excursion. The same goes for many other students I’ve had to temporarily say “goodbye” to.
I guess the key point is that although I had built up many individual understandings with each student, the Smiths curriculum and materials I’ve been using were adaptable enough for the next teacher to use in their own style, whilst still retaining enough familiarity for the students to allow them to feel comfortable with the progress of their course despite the change in teacher. Of course it helps that my replacement, Gen, is a good one too!
So to twist another saying to make my point: perhaps “commonality breeds content.”