A Special Teacher

by Unknown

Years ago a John Hopkin's professor gave a group of graduate 
students this assignment: Go to the slums. Take 200 boys, 
between the ages of 12 and 16, and investigate their background 
and environment. Then predict their chances for the future.

The students, after consulting social statistics, talking to the boys, 
and compiling much data, concluded that 90 percent of the boys 
would spend some time in jail.

Twenty-five years later another group of graduate students was 
given the job of testing the prediction. They went back to the same 
area. Some of the boys - by then men - were still there, a few had 
died, some had moved away, but they got in touch with 180 of the 
original 200. They found that only four of the group had ever been 
sent to jail.

Why was it that these men, who had lived in a breeding place of 
crime, had such a surprisingly good record? The researchers were 
continually told: "Well, there was a teacher..."

They pressed further, and found that in 75 percent of the cases it 
was the same woman. The researchers went to this teacher, now 
living in a home for retired teachers. How had she exerted this 
remarkable influence over that group of children? Could she give 
them any reason why these boys should have remembered her?

"No," she said, "no I really couldn't." And then, thinking back over 
the years, she said amusingly, more to herself than to her 
questioners: "I loved those boys...."