This reader writes about the teachers who changed his life:

I had four CPS public school teachers to thank for recognizing and nurturing my strengths in English, writing and creativity, in 7th through 10th grades: Miss Fox, Mrs. Langdon, Miss Schwartz and Mrs. Gordon.

Until middle school, I did not think I had any academic strengths. In part, this was because, in 4th grade, when my mom remarried, I gained a step-father who frequently referred to me as “dumb”. He often said that, in his estimation, I was just too stupid to be able to excel at school. He turned out to be an example of how wrong non-educators can be about students and learning.

Thanks to these great CPS teachers, I developed confidence in my abilities, was inspired to broaden my interests, and I graduated with straight A’s from high school and summa cum laude from college. I will be forever indebted to them for rekindling my love of learning, because in spite of my achievements, my step-father never did change his views about my capabilities and always found a way to downplay my academic success. Thank goodness I learned at an opportune time in my development that his opinion didn’t matter as much as the professional judgments of those who are skilled in learning and teaching.