I had a very intimidating social studies teacher in High School named Mr Savage.
He would walk into the classroom, silently go up to the blackboard, scribble a provocative open question, like “What is democracy?” in his chicken-scratch handwriting and then stare back at the class with his beady little eyes. (can you tell how much of a fan I was??)
He’d smile slyly with pinched lips revealing a little scar alongside his mouth. Then he’d gesture to the class to let the debate begin.
I dreaded that moment. I was a shy and insecure adolescent and that kind of intellectual dogfighting made me shrink even further into my shell.
Mr Savage didn’t give homework, but he did assign two big writing projects per year that were famously tough. For one project we had to propose our ideal presidential candidate and then argue and defend why we thought he or she should win.