My son is experiencing some of his first teacherly injustice. I know there are weak teachers and that part of school is learning to deal with them. But still, it is hard to witness one’s earnest, hard working twelve year old run into grown ups who say mean things, or who don’t praise projects that took hours to complete. I remember the bad teachers I had in 7th and 8th grade –Mrs. H.’s clogs and kneesocks, Mr. T.’s sweat stains under his armpits. These individuals were my social studies teachers and as I write this I realize that social studies is what I do for a living. Literary nonfiction about history and culture. How much more social studies is that? Mrs. H. gave my invented continent, Terra Bella, a C or something lower — clearly, I have blocked the memory of this grade. She felt the weather system was not right. Mr. T. said I did not write my term paper on St. Theresa of Siena by myself. Did my mother help me? But the worst thing was that I knew they did not like me. I could smell it on them — the dislike. They did not smile when I spoke. When I raised my hand, they ignored me. Teacherly dislike was a new experience for this veteran teacher’s pet and it never really happened again. My high school teachers redeemed school by loving me and loving their subjects. As for me, I have taught since I was twenty two years old and not once have I had a student who I disliked on this weird visceral level. I’ve struggled with some, failed to reach others, but never had the chemical dislike those teachers had for me. And as a few teachers seem to have for my son.