Recently, as a substitute teaching online, I offered sixth-grade students at a high-needs school a quick glimpse of my own six-grade life. I almost begged them to please not be like “Mr. Mike.”

When I was in sixth grade, I sought attention using bad behavior. I told the students my dad died on Jan. 13, 1964, during my sixth-grade year, and that my mother died January 1970, during my senior year.

About 20 minutes later, I interrupted their online math work with a “Total Recall” game, the winner or winners to receive a special treat. I asked them if they remembered when my parents died. Unbelievably to me, based on previous “Total Recall” contests, a boy who rarely participated raised his little hand and scored 100.

At age 68, I’m learning that we never know who is really listening. I’m marinating the thoughts of a special in-school pizza party for this student and three of his chosen classmates.

Mike Sawyer

Newsletter signup for email alerts

Denver




Readers' View and Local Views

Letters are limited to 300 words, must be the original work of the author and must be exclusive to the News Tribune. Letters are edited for style, space, accuracy and civility.

Letter writers are limited to one published submission every 30 days.

With rare exceptions, the News Tribune does not publish poetry; letters that are anonymous, libelous or attack other writers; consumer-complaint letters; thank-you letters; or letters generated by political or special-interest campaigns.

We will consider exclusive Local View columns of 600 words or fewer. Authors should possess unique insights, and their commentaries should demonstrate greater knowledge of their subject than letters.

Email submissions to: letters@duluthnews.com

Mail to: Readers' Views, Duluth News Tribune, 424 W. First St., Duluth, MN 55802.

Fax to: 218-720-5120.

Include a full name, address and daytime photo number. Only names and hometowns will be published.