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:
- Did you have a good summer?
- Why did you become a teacher?
- How do you deal with obnoxious people?
- What books are we going to read this year?
- What is your best memory of the last four years?
- What topics will we cover this year?
- Middle name?
- Where would you go if you won a free trip?
- What is the definition of literature?
- Why isn’t education more available to those who need it most?
- What was the worst book you had to read in high school / college?
- If I could change anything at this school, what would it be?
- Where have you been in the world?
- Are you good at math?
- What was your struggle in school?
- What was your best subject?
- What will I accomplish during my senior year?
- Will this year be better than last?
- Why do kids break stuff at their own school?
- What was your dream job as a kid?
- What is the funniest thing you’ve ever witnessed?
- What’s your opinion on how you think the habits we develop now will affect us down the road?
- What’s something you want others to remember about you?
- What’s something that inspired you or changed you for the better?
- 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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