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teaching

Illustration by Sergio Garcia Sanchez

Wrong Yoga

Of all the types of yoga practiced in the US today—Hatha yoga, Ashtanga yoga,Vinyasa yoga, Bikram yoga—the one that I enjoy most happens to be the one that I invented. I like to call this type of yoga “wrong yoga.”

Illustration by Anders Nilsen

Learning

It’s hard to know which of us began to wear our shoes in the apartment, but one of us did—one of us, then the other. First it was just in the kitchen, but soon there were tracks in the bedroom, bathroom, living room, everywhere. Old receipts and leaves crept in. The floor grew filthy. We got out-of-season colds. Ellen let clumps of her hair tumbleweed around, clogging the carpet, the drains, and I was no longer careful with the dishes, dropping plates and glasses so often we learned not to flinch at the smash, and though we still recycled, we did so poorly, never rinsing, never sorting, curbing them on the wrong night. We both knew the baking soda had been in the freezer a very long time, many years, a lifetime, but neither of us made a move to dispose of or replace it.

Mr. Crockett

His first name, Wilbury, had a slightly frivolous sound, like that of a furry character from Beatrix Potter or A.A. Milne, but no student would have thought of using it, even behind his back, for Mr. Crockett was the antithesis of frivolity, and his control over his troops would have been the envy of boot camp drill instructors. These troops were students in English classes at Wellesley High School, in a conspicuously affluent suburb a dozen miles west of Boston. So affluent, in fact, that a number of its sons and daughters were sent off to the private boarding schools that have long been a major industry in New England. Those who remained found a several-tiered program in English in the local high school. And those who chose the top tier discovered that Mr. Crockett was their instructor in English 21, 31, and 41—the three-year sequence that stretched from the tenth to the twelfth grade. This unusual sequence created an unusual opportunity that education schools, for which Mr. Crockett had little regard, call student-teacher interaction. Five classes a week, nine months a year, three years. That's a lot of interaction, and while everybody cut gym and skipped social studies and foreign language from time to time, no one missed Mr. Crockett's invariably stimulating, sometimes frustrating, and relentlessly challenging classes.