Virgil Ross Green: English • Cleburne High School This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

February 21, 2013
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A big chalkboard, five rows of desks, 20 freshmen, and a teacher no one had met. I would never have guessed that this teacher would change me for the rest of my life.

Almost every teacher teaches the same way, but not Mr. Green. He taught in a way I had never seen before. He made you grow up fast and hard; if you wanted to pass his class, it was up to you to listen to the information and apply it to his assignments. This made me realize that I was in high school, not middle school anymore. But there were three specific things Mr. Green did that made me realize he was the greatest teacher of all time.

The first thing he did react differently from other teachers when he saw me using my phone in class. He would simply look at me, and then continue teaching. Mr. Green didn't say anything, but after class he told me, “You can play on your phone all you want, but I am letting you know right now that you will not pass my class if you do that.” At the time I was upset, but I later realized that it might have been the best advice a teacher had ever given me. In fact, it changed my outlook on his class, and I decided that this class would make me a better writer.

The second difference was he failed me with a 68, which made me ineligible to play basketball. Initially many emotions coursed through my body: I was mad, upset, and confused. I went to him with anger and resentment. How could he have failed me by two small points? I argued with him, but all he said was, “Alex, did I fail you? Or did you fail yourself?” When he said that, I walked away in embarrassment. The sad thing was, he was really right and I just now realized it.

The third and final difference with him was that he became my friend. Not only did he teach me English and help me grow up, but he also gave me a friendship that I would cherish for the whole year, and still do. He was the type of guy who would joke with you and was actually funny – not just make some lame or corny teacher joke. When it came to teaching, he was very serious, but outside of the classroom – or even sometimes at the end of class – he would talk to you. You could have a regular conversation with him as if he was one of your bros and that was the greatest thing he ever gave me.

Virgil Ross Green will be remembered by many kids he taught, and I know he will never be forgotten by me. He made me grow up, something I needed to do very badly. He taught in a way that was unique in every way, and if more teachers taught like that, I believe more students would understand the material and have fun learning. He also offered me a friendship that I really value.

Thank you, Mr. Green, for all the life lessons you gave me.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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