As Mr. Swofford, my eighth grade and high-school math teacher, would say, “It’s time to put away your book, take out paper and pencil, and answer a few questions.” I still remember what it was like when I heard those words. You could cut the dread in the room with a knife. You see, Mr. Swofford never told us in advance when we were having a test—not once in five years. He was a brilliant and wonderful man, an incredible teacher, and he taught the value of continuously preparing to end up in the right place.


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