I spent 38 years as a high school English teacher – a wonderful and satisfying career. I had many outstanding teachers who inspired me and helped me hone the necessary skills to take into the classroom; but I also taught many students throughout the years who caused me to be a better teacher and who infused me with the enthusiasm to keep at it.
One particularly memorable student was Solad, a handsome but withdrawn young African who showed up in my 11th grade writing class. He was reticent and then resistant. I couldn’t get him to write a paragraph. I offered to meet with him at lunch so that we could work one-on-one, but after three sessions he stopped coming to our lunchtime meetings.