Since I have been here at the same school for so long, it is inevitable that I get multiple kids from the same family. My record is five kids from the same clan. I’ve done that twice. Once, five was all the kids in that family. For years, I would hear at Back-to-School-Nights and Open Houses about how I was the topic of many a dinner conversation or big brother advice session or family reminiscing.

Great. Just great.

The other family I had five of…well, that wasn’t really everybody. I batted .625 with that family. You can do the math yourselves. But I should be due to see a kid of a kid from that family soon.

When I get all the kids from the same family, I call it “running” a family. I have run many, many two child households. That’s easy.

“Do you remember my brother?”

“I am still trying to forget him.”

Three and four kid fams are a little harder to run, obviously, but more satisfying.

Half the time I don’t even realize that I am on the second or third one until halfway through the year or more. Unless there’s a strong family resemblance, I am often oblivious. Sometimes it takes until Open House in the spring when the former student tags along to say hi, and then I go…

“Wait…You? Wait. This is your sister? Really? Wait.”

I actually think that is a good thing from the kids’ standpoint. I know my younger brothers hated being compared to me (and vice versa, the few times it happened), and I have always really gone out of my way to judge each kid as he/she is in my class and that’s it. I consciously avoid cumulative folders (your permanent record!) like the plague–never even peeked once in all these years! So I figure that it’s all to the good that I don’t usually know I am running a family until I am most of the way through it.

Like today, for instance. At the end of a class, while I was resting in my rocking chair and watching them leave, a kid comes up to me and says,

“I’m a legacy in your class!”


“My older sister and brother both had you!”

“Oh yeah? Are you the last one, or are there more of you coming?”

“My twin brother has Mr. Blah for English.”

D’oh! Missed it by that much.