Softness is an essential quality in my work as a middle school teacher. Obviously the word has many negative connotations (weakness, indecision, uncertainty), but its positive aspects are useful to me as I carry out my classroom responsibilities. For instance, the word suggests a willingness to yield readily to pressure or weight, a trait I find helpful when it comes to respecting the students’ comments and suggestions. I come to class with my own set of beliefs and ambitions, but I try to always be prepared to submit, if it seems suitable, to new ideas presented by the students. If the pressure of their judicious thoughts builds to a point where their correctness seems incontestable, I try to be ready to respectfully acquiesce. Far from being a sign of weakness in a teacher, I believe it’s a sign of inner forcefulness and influence. It’s an intrepid teacher who can surrender with enthusiasm to a young but truthful idea.