Recently retired, primarily middle school, after 43 years! My entire career has been in Westport, CT. It was terrific to go to work each day, knowing that the students would be receptive to the lessons. My major driving thought came from the book, Up the Down Staircase by Bel Kaufman, where she at one point notes, "Let it be a challenge to you." So over the many years of teaching, I tried to imagine how I might challenge my students to "own" their education with respect to American studies. Whether it was in the delivery of a lesson, the format of a test, the requirements of a project, or the classroom climate, my goal, my challenge was to get the students engaged. Hopefully, I succeeded in some small way.