Small World

This probably won’t mean much to anyone besides me, but I thought it was pretty cool. I had one of those “small world” moments this weekend while I was hanging out in the Gallery Place-Chinatown Starbucks waiting to see a movie, when I ran into a student of mine from a film course I taught at the University of Ilinois, Urbana-Champaign.

When the former student–I’ll respect his anonymity–walked past, there was a vague flicker of recognition. He looked somewhat familiar, but I couldn’t remember where I’d seen him. After a minute or so, he returned to my table and asked if I had ever taught film classes at UIUC. Once we made the connection, the student–now working in New York, but visiting DC for the weekend–told me that my course had been one of the more exciting he’d had while in college, which was really a nice compliment. Now, given that I haven’t taught at UIUC since May 2002, I’m impressed that he remembered me, but at the very least, the conversation reminded me–however fleetingly–that the work of teaching can have effects far beyond the four walls of the classroom.

Of course, if he knew what movie I was waiting to see, his good impression of me might have been tarnished forever.

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