Lessons That Go Beyond the Books

January 6, 2012
On August 10, 2011, I went to school expecting the usual: walking aimlessly through the hallways, pushing through the crowds, hearing the same old lessons all over again…and for six hours, I got exactly that…until I walked into Mr. Albright’s classroom. Here was this goofy looking man making corny jokes, who had a persona that screamed “I will change everything,” and all I could think was good God, what have we gotten into.

English had always been my favorite subject, but I’m not sure that I ever truly appreciated it as much as I should have. I’d spent my whole life with ideas of what the world was, and what I could be. I’d thought that I’d be bound by this racial chain for the rest of my life, that I’d only become what was expected of me. Everyday that I got closer to graduation was another day closer to the beginning of my failure, until that fateful day.

I’d never had a teacher that was anything like him. On the first day, he’d opened my class’s eyes to more than any other teacher had in our entire lives as he went on and on about the ideas of society, and why we had to work so hard. I gazed around the classroom as my peers whispered about how different he was, about how honest he was, and most importantly, about the magic behind his words. He took a group of rebellious kids who were very much unsure of themselves and opened up their eyes to the bigger picture. This man, with so much potential and ability and knowledge, who could, without a doubt, be teaching at a much higher level, was here with us, and it was no coincidence.

I’ve had teachers that started out seeming as if they were going to be great, but the magic always seemed to fade. Mr. Albright’s wonders, however, never cease. He changes lives. I’ve watched him spend hours after school, working patiently with the children who truly needed it. I’ve heard his words, as he spoke the truths that had been hidden from us for all of our lives. I’ve watched his adoration for his students, and I have seen the compassion that fills his eyes when he loses himself in his lectures.

Mr. Albright has taught me more than the tales of Henry David Thoreau, or the endless truths of slavery. He taught me that I can be somebody. He showed me that the more people judge me, the harder I should work towards proving them wrong. He taught me not to conform or bend, but to reform, and to stand up. He’s shown me that hard work now means rewards later, even if I can’t see it yet. Thanks to him, I believe in myself again. I have hope that the sacrifices I make today will lead to a better tomorrow. I will not settle, nor will I become what is expected of me. I will rise above the inequitable presumptions of the people around me, all because I walked into Mr. Albright’s classroom.

Teacher: George Albright
Position: Junior and senior English teacher/ACT prep teacher
School: Eleanor McMain, New Orleans, LA





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