"In 1968, at age twenty-one, I was sure I had all the answers I needed to know about teaching five classes a day in a real high school ... I had no idea how naïve I was!" Every teacher's career is a journey of discovery that begins with rookie insecurities and moves toward self-confidence and understanding. When Susan Van Kirk drove into little Monmouth, Illinois, in 1968-straight out of college, with her teaching degree in hand-she thought she was ready to teach English and speech to high school students. She didn't realize that, for the rest of her career, she would both teach and be taught by a town, a school, and the students who entered her life. A veteran of thirty-four years in public high school teaching, Van Kirk will take you on a passionate and unforgettable journey through one teaching life. Meet her students and experience the events that molded a rookie teacher into a veteran. This montage of stories covers the years 1968 to 2008; they describe her early fears about classroom discipline, plots to overthrow "the rookie," handing drug overdoses, the devastating first student death, and a challenge to a major Kurt Vonnegut book in her classroom.