I Apologized To My Middle School Music Teacher [OPINION]
When I think about how I acted as a kid- particularly as a teenager- I feel pretty bad about it. I was rude to teachers, rude to administrators... pretty much anyone in authority. I had a Texas-sized chip on my shoulder and acted out in a lot of ways that I really regret now that I am an adult.
The other day while zombie-scrolling through Facebook, I saw a post by my middle school music teacher. It triggered a lot of memories, and guilt, about her class and my behavior in it.
I was rude to her pretty much every day. I talked back, was insubordinate... even started a huge food fight in class on the last day. Like I said, I am not proud of this.
For her part, I remember her always being kind to me and never lowering herself to my level. She even named me "Student of the Month" once. Back then, I was mad and embarrassed that she would do that to me and my "reputation." Now, I can see that she was just trying to push me to be better.
She also had us sing some good songs, like "Sloop John B." by the Beach Boys. What middle schooler can't relate to a chorus of "Let me go home/I want to go home" in the middle of a long day in school?
After thinking it over, I decided to try to make amends by sending her a Facebook message. I was conflicted over whether it would be a welcome message that she would be happy to read, or if it would be triggering for her to remember again after all these years. I asked my wife what she thought, and she encouraged me to send it.
So I did.
You might not remember me, I had you as my music teacher in 7th grade, around 1994. I was a real jerk to you back then and I have felt bad about it ever since. I happened to see you on Facebook and wanted to apologize.
Thank you for helping me find my lifelong love for music, particularly the Beach Boys and their song “Sloop John B.,” which we sang in class, shouting the chorus “LET ME GO HOMEEEEEE.”
I am married now with a young kid and I am trying to raise him with an appreciation for music and the joy (and therapy) it can provide.
I’ll never forget how you named me “Student of the Month” in your class. Back then I was actually mad about it, I thought it was embarrassing. Now I can see it was your way of trying to push me to do better and live up to my potential.
Thank you for your kindness, your patience, and most of all for “Sloop John B,” which is among my favorite songs of all time.
I don't know if she will ever read the message, let alone respond. I don't know if it's weird to do that. I do feel like it's never too late to apologize.