LETTERS TO 2019
It’s here! The time has come once again to mail off the Letters to the Future.
To the Scullen graduates of 2015, which is this year’s high school graduating class of 2019, congratulations!
The Social Experience
In evolving with the times of teaching Health Education, I have continued to incorporate social media as an extension of my classroom. Online interaction keeps me in touch with thousands of other students, past and present. This portion of my website is dedicated to you, students of the past.
You can find me on all outlets under my pen name: @ScottAmpersand.
This school year we have continued our class YouTube channel, where students help create discussions and other teaching content. Feel free to view and subscribe! YouTube.com/MrTodnem
And, as if that’s not enough, we have started a class Podcast! You can listen in on our episodes with 8th grade hosts as we talk through Health Ed, middle school, and life in general. Anchor.fm/LifeIsTheFuture
The goal is that my profiles exist as a model for safe and appropriate use of social media. I have also learned a lot about my own teaching by reflecting each week with students.
Each year it seems more and more true that social media is just an extension of real life. If we take a genuine approach and use technology to meet fundamental processes of life, it hits the same needs as always. The physical, mental, and social need for well-being is ever-present. It’s the how, that changes. With the evolving world of technology, even the internet and social media will look different in years to come.
And so, here we are. Living in the future of your 8th grade experience, the present constantly becoming our past.
The Same. And different.
I still teach at Scullen Middle School in Naperville, Illinois, in the same classroom in which you sat back in 8th grade. Some assignments and activities stick around, others have run their course so that new ideas, articles, and video clips can suit the ever-changing teenage life.
I have had a successful year of teaching, and am honored to be awarded the 2019 National Health Teacher of the Year. I am overwhelmingly proud to be selected for such a distinction among the great teachers in the nation. I have been presenting more at teaching conventions and traveling out of state to speak and give back to this great profession.
In other personal news, I officially have a book coming out, to be published this summer! It is a puberty book for young boys, aimed at ages 9+, entitled “Growing Up Great!” Check it out if you get a chance, especially if you have any young people in your life looking for a resource on navigating adolescence and all the great changes life throws at us. I’ll share links on social media once that’s officially available.
I will continue to write as well as teach. My love of writing was in bloom well before I thought I’d become a teacher, and I constantly challenge myself with weekly prompts to allow for personal creativity and provide an outlet for my many thoughts on life.
And so I urge you, young readers, to do the same. To write for yourself, and to share with others that which you feel necessary. I did this for you in your 8th grade year; I offered a chance to write to your future self. Ultimately some decided against it, and have nothing to be delivered in the mail this month, unfortunately. But if you’re reading this, and you’re one of the graduating alumni from the 2014-2015 Scullen school year, then well done. You did it! You wrote a letter to yourself, from your past, to your future. Not only that, you survived four years of high school, and we all know how tough that can be.
If you received your letter, you’ll see my personal note and links to social media, and you’ll also see I included a sticker to remind you of our Sticker Wall activity that we always did in 8th grade. Remember, you were motivated enough to put stickers on a wall… haha. That means, with the right motivation, you can do anything in life. So get to it.
After all, life isn’t about finding yourself, life is about creating yourself.
I encourage and challenge you to use whatever media accounts you have to send me a note. I know time is precious, but today, see if you can let me know you received your letter– send me a quick message, a picture, or anything you decide to let me know it has arrived. Use your favorite media outlet to connect if you are willing.
Use the hashtag #LettersToTheFuture and let me see what everyone is up to.
Want to write for me?
Please consider writing for my Alumni Page to share stories and give back to this world that we share. Contact me if you’d be willing to contribute! Or come say hi for a quick visit… my door is always open.
Congratulations once again, and I hope your letter finds you well.
Stay healthy, and enjoy life in the future!
– Mr. Todnem, May 23, 2019