As yellow school buses pass my house, I think about a question my favorite principal once asked me. “Who was a teacher who made a real difference for you at school?”
It didn’t take long for the name of Elizabeth Bounds to come to mind. She was an excellent English teacher, but the difference went far beyond class. She kept study hall in the teeny-tiny library of the teeny-tiny Abbeville High School. One day she handed me a book off the shelf. “Virginia Ann, this is a book you need to read.”
Now, she didn’t say this was a book a ninth-grader or a tenth-grader should read, but a book that I should read. I knew I had been singled out. I read that one and returned it to ask for another recommendation. She introduced me to A Tale of Two Cities, Pride and Prejudice, The Count of Monte Cristo, and many others – classics I read for pleasure. She made a difference most of all because she saw me as an individual and fed the reading and writing that would become my passions.
As this new school year begins, I am grateful for Elizabeth Bounds and teachers like her who see the individuals in their classrooms and challenge them to find and follow their passions.