My teacher for eight grades in the one-room school could be harsh–ice pick harsh to a tender poetic soul. Some students let her criticisms sail far above their heads; others let them buffet their egos and then matched the thrown brick, brick for brick. They didn’t learn as well, but their self-esteem was protected by a hardened shell and iron will. They survived.
Me–well, I functioned, but the kind of function that winces at hard words; the kind that functions day by day but realizes I will never be good enough; the kind of function that sucks in a hint of a compliment and lets my guard down just enough for the next shot across the bow.
The teachers’ college would send us student teachers from time to time, and many came with apprehension, given that AL’s reputation was known far and wide. I remember one unlucky lad who riled…
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