“Don’t go into the teachers’ lounge,” she said. “They put out contracts on kids in there. And don’t let the cynics jade you.”
An African-American woman who brooked no nonsense, she demanded that every student in her class give maximum effort. She taught across the hall from me my first year teaching, and I learned from her the things that were never addressed in education classes—how to build relationships and set high expectations. I knew how to teach a novel, how to teach students to write, but watching her taught me those essentials of classroom management that have to happen before students can learn anything.