Chapter 17: Once in a Blue Moon
McDermott offers readers a recollection of her own early, formative experiences when she was a newly-minted teacher struggling through the challenges of the classroom. This chapter provides readers with an intimate, honest portrayal of the trials visited upon teachers, and how these daily occurrences can have a profound impact on the teacher. Her reminiscence demonstrates how the hardships foisted upon us by students who are themselves suffering enormous difficulties require a thoughtful, patient response from us that is grounded in compassion and empathy. Moreover, McDermott shows us how these same tribulations that once caused us so much grief can, in the long run, become the key to unlocking greater understanding and insight into the heart of teaching, as well as important sources for our own feelings of gratitude and thankfulness that will sustain us throughout our teaching careers and in the years to come.