When I first started teaching at Berkeley in 1958, I could not announce that I was gay to anybody, though probably quite a few of my fellow teachers knew.
Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.
My teachers treated me as a diamond in the rough, someone who needed smoothing.
Now all my teachers are dead except silence.
Teachers are expected to reach unattainable goals with inadequate tools. The miracle is that at times they accomplish this impossible task.
Students rarely disappoint teachers who assure them in advance that they are doomed to failure.
Instead of trying to come up and pontificate on what literature is, you need to talk with children, to teachers, and make sure they get poetry in the curriculum early.
As individuals, we are shaped by story from the time of birth; we are formed by what we are told by our parents, our teachers, our intimates.
Teachers are not supposed to be repositories of information which they dish out. That is from an age when there were no other repositories of information, other than books or teachers, neither of which were portable. A lot of my big task is retraining these teachers.
I grew up in a bookless house – my parents didn’t read poetry, so if I hadn’t had the chance to experience it at school I’d never have experienced it. But I loved English, and I was very lucky in that I had inspirational English teachers, Miss Scriven and Mr. Walker, and they liked us to learn poems by heart, which I found I loved doing.