Here’s one of the best compliments my students could offer me: “That was a surprising class, Mr. Salsich.” Surprises have always had magical power for me, the way they can suddenly blow apart a lackluster moment into something stunning. I’ll be floating along the supposedly tedious river of my life when, out of the blue, a surprise alters everything. It might be true for most of us: surprises (at least the good ones) can transform dullness into delight. Since my English class constantly leans dangerously close to dreariness, I’m always hopeful that surprises will occasionally seize the young students. Interestingly, the word “surprise” derives from the Latin word for “seize”, as in “The enemy forces surprised (i.e., seized) the castle.” I like to picture my students sitting impassively in Room 2 when, with great suddenness, a line in a poem or a phrase in a story takes unexpected hold of them. I picture them looking at me in stunned surprise, as if to say, “Help, Mr. Salsich! Something has seized me!” Certainly I would rush to their aid (in my best senior citizen manner) if a human intruder tried to get hold of them, but a literary prowler is more than welcome - -the kind that pounces on and reshuffles minds and hearts.