(Photo by Steve Silberman)

“In 1988 when my biology teacher told me to see if I could find any information about Henrietta, neither one of us could have imagined that more than twenty years later, I’d publish a book about her having spent most of my adult life looking to answer a question he inspired in that classroom. Before my book came out, I tracked down that biology teacher, now long retired, and sent him a note: “Dear Mr. Defler, here’s my extra credit project. It’s 22 years late, but I have a good excuse:  No one knew anything about her.” He was shocked.  I was just one of thousands of students he’d taught in countless huge auditoriums, most of us (myself included) looking disaffected and half asleep. He didn’t remember that moment in class when he first told me about Henrietta, but I did. Which is an amazing thing about classrooms: You never know what random sentence from a teacher will change a student’s life.” — Rebecca Skloot

“What’s the Most Important Lesson You Learned from a Teacher?” — Steve Silberman, NeuroTribes, feat. Rebecca Skloot, Maggie Koerth-Baker, David Dobbs, and more.

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