Every time I have had a not-so-helpful teacher in the past, I vowed to never be like that when I became a teacher, a vow that I have stuck by in both good times and bad. I believe (even if I'm not the world's greatest teacher) that it is our obligation to teach with enthusiasm and advise with a lot of heart. I had the privilege of working with a student named Erik the other day, whose personal enthusiasm reminded me why I keep trucking along the teaching path day after day. He's looking into MFA programs and PhD programs in nonfiction, but what he really wants to do is enact some social change. He is in my food and culture class this semester. What an honor and blessing for me to be able to put aside his essay (which is great, by the way) to talk about my experience in programs and as a teacher after those programs. He left beaming, thanking me over and over again, but he couldn't see how much he made me beam. Really. Truly. After almost ten years of teaching, I am happy to report that students still have this effect on me (well, at least some of them).