There were two early moments in my education that changed my life. In 4th grade, I was not succeeding at all in most subjects. The teacher, Mrs Snow, determined that I needed glasses and should not be sitting in the back of the room. Then, she took me out of the class room for an hour a day to meet in a very small group, (3) to meet with a reading specialist. The reading teacher understood the young male personality. She told me simply, "when you can read this very thick book and explain it to me, we are done." It was "Treasure Island" by Robert Lewis Stevenson, almost 600 pages. It took me the better part of the winter term to complete. I know she did other activities and with me and when I was done, I could read.
In 8th grade, in the late spring I think the my English teacher was tired of pushing us. She took us to the library late in April. We all had to find a book in the library that she would approve and we had to write and present an oral report. I was struggling to select a book. It was late in the day and very warm. I remember watching the "dust" floating in the rays of the sun and the smell of library books. She came upt to me and dropped a smallish book in front of me and said, "here is a good book for you to read." It was "The Stranger" by Albert Camus; it changed my life in ways that cannot be described in a short essay.
Today, I am an academic dean responsible for Oral Communications, Mass Communications, Theatre, English, English-as-a-Second Language, Reading and Mathematics (my area of expert learning) at a community college. \
I love my work and my job. Without my public education, my parents and my wife, I would not be here today.
Dr. Vernon Kays
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