I was in the sixth grade, at the top of the elementary school totem pole, unable to climb any farther. Soon, we twelve-year-olds would become middle school bottom-dwellers, our nightmares of being stuffed into trashcans and left overnight in lockers the most certain of realities, we earnestly believed. But for now, the world was my oyster. I could ascend no higher, for I held pure power in my hands.
We were, as I’d later learn upon working with middle school students, completely egocentric in and of ourselves. The world revolved around our wants and our needs, our desires and our whims. We were toddlers stuck in morphing, pre-pubescent bodies, laughing not at Sesame Street but at the underground whispers of the two-week “Sexual Education for Early Adolescents” course. So maybe that’s why her words caught me so off-guard.
You see, there still existed an innocence and a naiveté, a shroud of mystery that hung between teacher and student. To me, Mrs. Johnson walked on water – she could do no harm. Granted, I didn’t think she lived in the back closet of room 26 anymore, but I also didn’t believe she likely had a life outside of the classroom.
So there we found ourselves, probably on a Friday afternoon, the day and time all late elementary school teachers dread for the itchiness that comes with itchy pre-teen angst. Throwing her hands up in the air in final feeble attempt, she handed us the ball, she finally let go of matriarchal reigns: as per the weekly writing exercise, we were to bare our souls in spiral-bound notebooks. And I wish I still had a copy of that fuchsia-colored diary, but to her I wholeheartedly scribbled a lamentation that sounded something like this:
…I’m sure the suspense is killing you, but you’ll actually have to visit Bronwyn’s Corner to find out what I wrote to Mrs. Johnson, and read her response to my problem. Click here, and in the meantime, show my buddy Bronwyn some love!0