English Teacher Reaches Through Student's Haze

Play associated audio

Christine Eastus was a double major in English and chemistry with plans to go to medical school. Instead — to the chagrin of her parents — she became a teacher.

In the 1970s, she taught English at Greenhill School in Addison, Texas.

"Once I started teaching, it was a completely new world, sort of frightening in a sense, because you're dealing with students who are so impressionable, but it's heady stuff particularly when people like you, catch the bug and become writers and let you know about it," she tells NPR's John Burnett. "That is a real high, to hear from someone who's your age still remembering me and I'm sure many of them curse me because I guess I was a bit demanding."

Burnett says after leaving Eastus' class, it was a while before he could pick just pick up a book and enjoy it because he was still "digging into light and dark motifs."

Eastus says Burnett stood out because he was so much taller than the other students and played the harmonica.

"And your mind worked somewhat differently from other people's minds," she says. "You find interest in rather pedestrian situations and make them come alive, to this day."

Eastus was so important to him, Burnett says, because he "really felt subhuman in high school, like a lot of students do, I didn't feel like I was good at much anything.

"But I loved to write stories and you reached through the haze and grabbed me by the collar and said, 'keep writing,' and I really think you helped to sort of turn a light on," he says.

"I'm so glad I didn't go to med school," Eastus says.

"So am I," Burnett replies.

For this year's National Day of Listening, pay tribute to one of your teachers on Twitter using #thankateacher, or go to the StoryCorps Facebook page.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

After Sketchy Science, Shark Week Promises To Turn Over A New Fin

Shark Week is here, and scientists are afraid. Not of the toothy swimmers — but of inaccuracies, bad science and the demonization of animals that aren't as ferocious as Discovery Channel has made out.
NPR

Do Try This At Home: 3 Korean Banchan (Side Dishes) In One Pot

If you've ever eaten at a Korean restaurant, you're used to the endless side dishes that come out with the meal. They're called banchan, and they're remarkably simple to make for yourself.
WAMU 88.5

Cutting Local Taxes in The District

The D.C. Council has taken steps to accelerate tax cuts for all income earners. They're part of a broader overhaul of the city's tax levels, but some council members argued there wasn't enough time for a rigorous debate about the new schedule. We explore the debate over cutting taxes for D.C. residents and how it affects the city's ability to pay for critical local services.

NPR

Reddit CEO Says Miscommunication Led To Blackout Protest

A user revolt briefly shut down the social site last week after a key employee was dismissed. Interim CEO Ellen Pao says the company has "apologized for not communicating better" with site moderators.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.