In the face of parental pressure and with the lure of "high status" occupations, a prospective teacher seeks advice and insight from a former, favorite high school English instructor. Her question, "What does teaching mean to you?" brings a clarion reply: It is passion and paradox,love and hate, routine and excitement — and it always matters. After two years of teaching,the young teacher writes again, this time to say that she agrees — teaching does matter— but that she must leave it to try her hand at another career.

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