I wish that some of our teachers could have attended our reunion. One of my favorite high school teachers was my ninth grade English teacher, and most of my "big word" vocabulary is directly because of him.
In the first week of school, he assigned two chapters of "Great Expectations" by Dickens with a list of twenty vocabulary words. Our homework? Read the chapters, look up and write out the definitions for all twenty words, and use each word in a sentence. Due the next day.
It took us forever. I remember wondering if the whole year was going to be this hard.
The next day, after we had handed in our homework, he said this:
"You guys, I just need to apologize. I did the homework too last night and it took me over two hours to complete! I had no idea it was going to take that long. From now on, it will be a much shorter vocabulary list."
We all breathed a sigh of relief.
And now, fourteen years later, I want to thank this man who taught me what "dregs" and "anathema" mean. And more importantly, I want to thank him for setting such a good example for me: teachers aren't perfect, and it takes both courage and humility to admit mistakes and correct them!