As we progress through life we move amongst many institutions meeting a wide range of people. The vast majority that we encounter are long forgotten. For some the connection remains for life.

Every Christmas I exchange greeting cards with a lady I last saw 70 years ago when we both played in the street together as young children. There seems little rational explanation as to why some friendships last and others fade.

Recently pupils that I taught in Hackney in the 1960s have used Facebook to recall happy days as schoolchildren. They have mentioned me in their chats and I have had the pleasure of catching up with several of them. Two college friends now in their 80s are still in regular contact. Such communication is a welcome reminder of long gone carefree student days. 

As a schoolteacher and subsequently a lecturer I must have taught thousands of students over the course of 45 years. Unlike some jobs teaching does not offer instant feedback. For the vast majority who have had to endure my teaching style our contact has long since ended. When ex-students become known it is wonderful to learn just how well they have done.   A lad I taught at a Hackney Comprehensive School wanted to be a PE teacher. I was able to give him a reference for my old PE college Carnegie in Leeds. 

As I left to take up another teaching post I never found out how he got on. All these years later I have discovered he passed the course and became a head of department.  He is now retired with three grown up children. 

One particular group of B.Ed Hons students formed a friendship group at the end of their course in 1979. As their tutor I was invited to join the group. It has been very rewarding over the years to follow their career paths. It has been a pleasure to see some become headteachers. One is now a successful author and playwright. Another gained the Teacher of the Year award. They all remain friends and support each other. There have regular reunions at which I have had the privilege of attending on several occasions. I have always found it an honour that they would want to include me in the group. Despite the distance between our homes I still have strong friendship ties with several with whom I grew up with at the local Congregational Church in Islington. We try to meet up a couple of times a year although my recent hip issue has prevented recent trips. 

When you teach you mostly never have any idea of the real impact you have on your students. To get generous feedback so long afterwards is a real bonus. Even a throwaway line can have a massive effect on a pupil. My wife as a nervous young primary school girl was told by the teacher that her leapfrog was atrocious. From that day on she believed she would never be any good at sports.  In adult life she is a fine swimmer and has played a good game of badminton. On holidays at the beach the children were less impressed with her attempts at triple jump and scuba diving. 

When teaching adults to train as evening class tutors I told a lady how good her written work was that I had just marked. She replied that it was the first time in her life anyone had said what she had done was good, 

How lucky I was to have taught for all those years. I did not get it right all the time but I found it a very rewarding job. It has made it even more enjoyable to know some even benefited from my labours. 

Who would want to teach today? The profession is struggling in so many ways. For me thanks for the memories.