Techniques of an Influential Teacher

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Marc Smith English 121 Techniques of an Influential Teacher We weren’t assigned to any particular seat, but we would file in every morning and sit in the same circle of desks, in the same spot, next to the same people. Every day at 8:05 in the morning we would talk the exact same way. Sophomores in high school talked about what they did last night, last weekend, or what they’re doing tomorrow or next weekend. But at 8:10, everything was different. From 8:10 to 9 in the morning everything about the day was different. Mr. Cohen walked into class with a quiet sort of passion. He is in his early thirties, and was always dressed casually, usually with jeans and a button down shirt with his sleeves rolled up. He had wavy black hair brushed back and thin glasses on the top of his nose. He was the kind of teacher that never made you feel guilty about missing an assignment, but something about the way he asked for it made you feel guilty for not doing it - not because it was a loss in points for your grade, but because you felt like you’d let down your teacher. Class always started with an idea from the text we were reading. Mr. Cohen would come in and write the word “symbols” at the top of the white board in a fading blue color. We were beginning a discussion on The Allegory of the Cave by Plato when Mr. Cohen turned around and asked the class, “What do you think were the most prominent symbols in this story?” Some very basic answers were shouted out, “the cave”, “shadows”, “fire”, “sunlight”, “water”…that last word sent him flying. He began to work off of it, “Focus on the water. What happened, what was seen or not seen?” Again some typical answers were shouted out from the class, “The moon, the stars, the man’s reflection”…and on that Mr. Cohen led the class deeper. He began pulling everything that we knew was inside the story out of our subconscious and onto the
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