Two months into my first real job teaching poetry at a middle school in Southeast D.C. the English teacher whose class I took over once a week got hit in the eye while breaking up a fight. Two weeks later, after the student who'd struck her hadn't been expelled, she decided not to return. This was a seventh grade English class, first quarter of the school year. So early that the kids sneakers were still uncreased, the chalk still at the edges of the blackboard. I hadn't yet learned every child's name. The end of this story? The school never hired another teacher - I watched a rotating cycle of substitutes come in and hand out worksheets to students that ran the gamut from on grade level to barely reading.