One to Watch: John Reid

I’ve been lucky enough to meet many wonderful students in my classrooms over the past twenty years or so.  In my new series One to Watch, I will feature former students who are now writers to introduce my readers to their work.

Nineteen years later, at least one of my students from this year has forgiven me for being the crankiest teacher who ever lived.

John Reid was a member of an eighth grade class that I remember as my biggest professional failure. If you were there when it happened, you would totally agree that it wasn’t them, it was me.  I went on a six week maternity leave in December and came back a post-partum mess of a human being. My poor students. I was cranky for the rest of the year. I lost their papers. I rose my voice for no reason. No one was having any fun.

At least we still wrote in journals every day. Not even my own crazy mood swings could keep me from offering daily writing practice.

Fast forward eighteen years to a wonderful message that popped up on Facebook from John Reid, a student from that eighth grade class:

“Hi Ms. Wanket!!! I haven’t said that in almost 20 years. Woah.

I just wanted to say hello. I just got back home from an evening walk reflecting on life. And then it hit me: Ms. Wanket was one of my favorite teachers and she may have inspired me to do what I’m doing today. . . .I just wanted to thank you for helping me fall in love with words.”

John Reid. Photo from MadeWomanMag.

While I can’t say I truly deserve this former student’s thanks, I appreciated it more than he can know.

John Reid graduated from USC with a degree in communications. He is a songwriter, website designer, essayist and marketer. His writing sparkled with clarity even when he was thirteen. Now, he’s a force to be reckoned with in all aspects of business writing, advertisement, content strategy and marketing as seen on the fantastic website of his own company SKY.

Don’t miss John’s contributions to the online MadeWomanMag as he writes about the vagaries of mixing love and football as well as other personal insights and dating advice.

John Reid also wrote this piece for LockerRoomLive Brand: The Return of the Box.

Any teacher will tell you that hearing messages from former students about how they are thriving in the real world is like getting the best present ever. To hear such a message from one of a group that I loved but knew that I wasn’t at my best with was more than I ever expected.

It was an honor to be John Reid’s eighth grade teacher. I admire his success and innovations from afar, with so much gratitude and love.


  1. You totally did that. He’s telling the truth. We have to accept it.


  2. I freaking loved everything about this post. Your admission of being “the crankiest teacher who ever lived” is hilarious to me. And I got chills when I read John Reid’s message to you. Thanks for sharing. Very inspiring!


    1. Thank you so much. John Reid was a great kid, and is a great man. I was lucky to be his teacher, even if it was a rough year for us. Thanks again for reading!


  3. Marie Durquet

    Maureen, I loved reading this. Those messages from former students make EVERYTHING worth it. I wish I could have been a student in one of your classes.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s