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Posted by: Date: September 1, 2009 In:

11:15 a.m. – Mr. MacDougall’s seventh grade language arts class

“I can wait.”With those three words, silence drops on the class of Joel MacDougall ’97.The 25 students know that for every second they continue to jabber, that time will be taken from lunch break or added to the last hour of the day.

When they quiet, MacDougall, 34, reviews the basic concepts of “Where the Red Fern Grows.” What is the name of the two dogs? The main character? What gave Billie the idea to buy dogs in the first place?

One student points out a typo on the handout.

“Great, I’ll change that next year,” MacDougall responds.

This is MacDougall’s fourth year of teaching, after a seven-year career in broadcast journalism. Though the job and the money was good, MacDougall started to chafe. What difference was he making by giving the sports report each night?

So he decided to go back to school to get his masters and start teaching. His wife is supportive, he said. His friends are another matter. Just then he’s interrupted, for about the fourth time.

“Mr. MacDougall, I’ve got Brian’s spit on me!”

Not everyone is cut out to be a middle school teacher, he admits. But he absolutely loves the age. His second year of teaching, he remembers absolutely hating the profession. But he pushed through and, by the fourth year, it all began to click.

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