How Do You Evaluate Teachers Who Change Lives?
It was 1966 and my 9th grade year began in a suburban town in northern New Jersey. I strolled to school carrying my small assignment pad, which I needed for writing notes—the kind between friends in the hallway during change of classes. I walked into the old, dreary building and into the same old alphabetically arranged homeroom, expecting the usual mannequin-like teacher. I was worried because school as I knew it was deadly.
My head was down as I walked; my long, straight hair and bangs covered most of my face. I stepped from the hallway into the classroom and came upon an unusual sight. The kids were standing up, animated, buzzing with conversation. The room actually appeared bright. I wondered what was happening.
Then I saw him. A new teacher. A small, wiry man. Young, cute. Long black hair. Smiling. Talking with students, not at students. Sitting on a student's desk—not behind a huge oak barrier or a lectern....
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