I teach at a school. Students ask questions. This is good. Some questions I keep answering over and over again. Sometimes the questions are so good they warrant a thoughtful answer. So good, in fact, that I never get around to answering them at all. One of the first tasks of this school year was to ask me a question. Many questions are quickly dismissed and answered, but many seem deserving of a few more details, a little more thought. Here are 25 questions I was asked at the beginning of the school year that I haven’t fully answered:

  1. Did you have a good summer?
  2. Why did you become a teacher?
  3. How do you deal with obnoxious people?
  4. What books are we going to read this year?
  5. What is your best memory of the last four years?
  6. What topics will we cover this year?
  7. Middle name?
  8. Where would you go if you won a free trip?
  9. What is the definition of literature?
  10. Why isn’t education more available to those who need it most?
  11. What was the worst book you had to read in high school / college?
  12. If I could change anything at this school, what would it be?
  13. Where have you been in the world?
  14. Are you good at math?
  15. What was your struggle in school?
  16. What was your best subject?
  17. What will I accomplish during my senior year?
  18. Will this year be better than last?
  19. Why do kids break stuff at their own school?
  20. What was your dream job as a kid?
  21. What is the funniest thing you’ve ever witnessed?
  22. What’s your opinion on how you think the habits we develop now will affect us down the road?
  23. What’s something you want others to remember about you?
  24. What’s something that inspired you or changed you for the better?
  25. What’s the best piece of advice you could give to the graduating class, or would it be specific for each student?

These are good questions. Like all good questions, I think they warrant a thoughtful answer. I think for many of these, my answer was “I’ll get back to you on that.”

This category Q&A will be where I answer specific questions. Sometimes a question will bounce around my head for years. A few years ago, on the island of Saipan, approaching graduation, a student wrote, “What if you do your best and it don’t do nothing?” I don’t know if I replied, or what I said, but I do know that the question has haunted me and that I’ve spent years thinking about it. In my next post I will answer that question.

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