I often think of myself as a trainer as much as a teacher, and, as such, I’m training my students as much to be true believers in their abilities as to be bright scholars of English. It’s a trying task to train young people to honor the gifts they have been given – to see clearly the skills and powers the universe has bestowed on them. Students in these times – at least in my experience – don’t seem to take their gifts seriously, and so day after day I do my best to remind them. I try to show them, in understated and subtle ways, that they, like all of us, are the wondrous works of a vast cosmos, and, as such, they possess the powers of that universe – the ability to expand and transform and be bright like a billion stars. It’s important that I prepare them for high school English class, but it seems just as important to me to prepare them to honor the magnificence they were made for. It’s strange that they usually act more like hesitant namby-pambies than the warriors of the universe they actually are. They enter my class more often with shoulders slumped than standing straight and self-assured, and my job is to change that. I want them to become better writers and readers, but more than that, I want them to wake up to the miracles their lives make each moment. They were made from the same stuff as stars and oceans, and they are every bit as splendid. I train them to take their magnificence seriously.