This delightful and uplifting book consists of essays written by students throughout the country about the teacher who had positively changed their lives. The stories range from a student being inspired by a teacher who taught with love and enthusiasm while dying from cancer, to teachers who made the extra effort to spend time with a lonely or confused child, and teachers who so loved their subjects that the student learned to love that subject also. In all of these stories, it was that special touch from a teacher that changed the course of their lives for the better.
The inspiration for the book occurred when Bodner happened to meet his 5th grade teacher, 45 years after “she bought him a book that changed his life.” Friends responded with similar memories when he told them about his experience, which set Bodner off on a quest to collect comparable stories. He requested that schools throughout the country ask their students to “write an essay based on a teacher who positively changed their lives.” With 7,000 stories submitted, Bodner selected 96 stories to compile this book.
This book reminds us that among American teenagers, there is a lot of good happening. It also reminds us that despite the national attention in education on buildings, curriculum, teaching techniques, class size, pay scales, education budgets, and a multitude of hotly debated topics, the real impact on the student rests with those relationships teachers can build with students.