Mr. Beschta did not suffer fools. He would not tolerate even a tiny murmur of chit-chat in class, and if anyone crossed him, he would stop class in its tracks and wait quietly for the offending student to apologize. I only once ever saw him explicitly ask for an apology from a particularly dim girl who hadn’t gotten the memo on his softly authoritative style of discipline.
He was also, in my opinion, one of the most gifted and passionate teachers at the school, and he exposed hundreds (probably thousands) of students to contemporary poetry — Robert Bly, Carolyn Forche, Li Young Lee, Galway Kinnell. He froze us to our seats reading Kinnell’s poem ”The Bear” aloud.