A good teacher is in love with his work; good teaching interlaces the teacher’s love for the subject with a love for the students. The class is an entanglement of heart and head that both enriches and exhausts the soul of a good teacher.
My 6th grade teacher, Mr. Mills, was one of my favorite teachers, and that was one of my happiest school years. He is the only teacher, with the exception of orchestra teachers, that I have any memory of seeing outside of the classroom. Mr. Mills would sometimes visit with students in the cafeteria, and once he took a classmate and I out to lunch! Every year he held three writing contests: a paper for the best breakfast ever, a paper for the best lunch ever, and a paper for the best dinner ever. The class would vote for the best meal, and Mr. Mills took the winning student, and a friend, to any restaurant of their choice. For each paper I pulled out my dad’s hardcover thesaurus and used every adjective I could fit into the papers. My meals averaged ten courses, fifteen pages. Mr. Mills would read some of the student’s papers out loud, and the students would ooh and ahh at the different foods and restaurants or scenes in which the meal was served. Mr. Mills read all three of my papers out loud, and I won the “lunch paper.” True to his word, we went to one of my favorite restaurants for burgers and milkshakes. I remember very little about my teachers in the grades prior to Mr. Mills class, but I remember him, his class, and especially my prize lunch. He was funny and came to school excited to teach, and he went out of his way to know connect to his students- even if it took him past his hours and out of his classroom.