I just got home from a Christmas concert at a church about a half an hour from my house. It's the third year in a row that I've been and I have to say that this was the best one yet. The entire first half, before the intermission, was Bach's Magnificat. Bach was amazing--his music is so moving that I have no doubt he could stir emotions in the dead.
I first went two years ago at the invitation of one of my students; her family was heavily involved in the music program at the church, and she was in the choir for the Christmas performance. I enjoyed it so much that when I saw her last year I asked that she let me know when the concert would be. I have her younger sister this year, and one of the first things I said to her this school year was to please make sure I know when the Christmas concert was going to be held. Apparently there's an even younger sibling I get to look forward to having in class in a few years! They have such beautiful voices.
I usually enjoy seeing students outside of school. I don't just mean at a football game or something, because that's a school function. I like seeing them in their own environments, whether that be at their place of work, at the ceremony getting their Eagle Scout awards (I've had more than one), at the mall while shopping, or while performing in a very formal concert. In those environments I'm still Mr. M, but there's much less of the artificial student/teacher wall that is so necessary for the functioning of a school.
When they laugh, it's for real--they're not just laughing at my bad jokes because they think they should. When they smile, the smiles are genuine. It's easier for me to see the person that is the student. And I like that.
It's even better when they come back to visit after going away to college.