Reflecting on my students made me reflect on myself at that age. I know the role that the 13-year-old me played was a bit sketchy at times. What portrait of the future did my younger self paint to my former teachers? Probably not a very promising one.
Last week I tracked down three of my 8th grade teachers, and sent them an email. I felt it was important that they know I survived college, found a good job, and started a family. It means a lot to me that they know their troubles didn't go without notice.
Here's how I started my letter:
My name is John Mikulski, and I was your 8th grade student in the 94-95 school year.
Like many 13-year-old boys, I was awkward, irritating, and definitely a bit smelly on warm days. I remember crying at the dinner table over homework, and I remember having no clue how to impress the guys while looking cool in front of the girls. 8th grade was a difficult year for me, but for some reason, it stands out as a defining time in my life.
I found writing my letter, and reading the two responses I received to be truly rewarding. I encourage everyone to contact a former teacher and do the same. Tell them you turned out ok. That you're happy. But most importantly, that you are all these things in small part because of them.
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