Ten years ago, I was teaching 7th grade. One of my students was a bright, charismatic girl who wanted to be an English teacher when she grew up. She promised to keep in touch and come back and volunteer in my classroom when she was in college. Well she did, and now she’s all grown up and ready for her own classroom.

When we were talking last week, she told me that she didn’t want to be a teacher until she met me. Now, her goal is to be the kind of teacher I was to her. I wondered what she meant. What made me the teacher that inspired her? That made her want to continue my work with new faces in new classrooms?

I thought about this for a long time and I don’t know the answer. What makes any teacher “the one?” For me, it was Mrs. Kraus. She was a warm demander, her faith in me was beyond question, and she made every lesson both engaging and rigorous. But she was so much more than that. She was the teacher who I wanted to be. Who, hopefully, I have become.

“That” Teacher

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