Maintaining Connections with Former Students
Assistant Professor of Mathematics and Director of Mathematics Education, St. Olaf College
MCTM VP for Mathematics
For those of us who work with pre-service teachers… How do you keep in touch with your former students after they graduate? How can these teachers remain connected with each other and with you? Sure, they may email you with updates every now and then. But are there ways to maintain the support network that they developed in college as they enter the teaching profession in different districts, in different states, and even in different parts of the world?
Here are some possible ideas that I’ve used or seen. If you have more, please feel free to leave a reply at the bottom of this article. Even better, submit your own MathBits article about it!
- Reunion at the MCTM Spring Conference in Duluth. In particular, the CONNECT session on Thursday night before the conference is a place where I reconnect with many of my early-career teachers.
- Facebook. I maintain a private Facebook page for my current and former students. It’s a venue for sharing ideas, news, job postings, etc. I often post math education articles that I find interesting. And almost all students nowadays have Facebook accounts!
- MCTM CONNECT has begun hosting “math mixers” in the metro area. These are informative but informal gatherings, emphasizing network and sharing of ideas. If you have former students teaching nearby, I encourage them to attend together to catch up with old friends and professors.
Keeping in touch with former students is hard to do. But it’s particularly important for beginning (and perhaps not-so-beginning) teachers, who could benefit from our continued mentoring, as well as from the support of their college friends.
(Note: For more information about the CONNECT events described above, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.)