DEAR HARRIETTE: I'm a 17-year-old high school student, and my favorite teacher is going to Tennessee to start a new school. I am going to miss him because he is funny and charismatic. We have an average student-teacher relationship, but I still would like to stay in contact with him and see how he is doing. Is there a way I can communicate with my favorite teacher to show him that I miss him and not get in trouble in the process? -- Missing My Mentor, West Orange, New Jersey
DEAR MISSING MY MENTOR: There should be no reason for you to get in trouble for simply wanting to stay in touch with a former teacher. If you truly value him as a mentor, reach out to him and say as much. Tell him that you would like to stay in touch: You want to learn about his new school, and you would like to be able to share with him what your experiences are as you finish high school and go to college.
Be clear about your intentions before you reach out to him, though. Establishing a mentor-mentee relationship can be wonderful if both parties agree to it. If you want this teacher's ongoing input in your life, you can gently ask and see if he shares your interest.