Originally posted on August, 19, 2015, “Letters to My First Students” is a series of letters I wrote to the first eighth grade class I ever taught as they graduated from high school.
I’d be remiss if I said I wasn’t upset that I’m going to miss your graduation; unfortunately, sometimes you just have to get married.
You are a prodigy, we both know this, but you’re so much more than that. I’ve had the privilege of being challenged by you on most of the mundane conventions of the English language along with various syntactical issues, essay structures, and overall style. The discourse has made me a better teacher, a better thinker, and frankly a better person. Students like you reaffirm my belief that teachers have impactful relationships with students; moreover, especially when my apathetic middle schoolers (not technically a word) browbeat me, you restore my belief in humanity.
Looking at the young man you’ve grown into, I couldn’t any prouder of you (yes, that’s a comparative form of proud, although you can also say more proud). I’m going to miss your wit, your quirks, and your affable personality. You’ve discovered yourself over these past years, and I will miss you. The only advice you ever need to take from me for college (besides not partying as much as I did, which I don’t think will be a problem for you) is to realize some of your professors will have egos, so go easy on the tone you take when you challenge them (because I know you will challenge some of them).
Don’t stop being you, though, for your inquisitive mind, your zest for learning, and your downright disregard for the opinions of your peers are all so rare in kids your age. I commend you for your courage in not being afraid to be different. I always was. And it’s a good thing.
Congratulations on your graduation (even though you probably could have graduated a couple years ago).
Only the best for you,