Samantha Liebman and John Byrne

John Byrne is a high school English teacher in New York. He describes his classes as rowdy—and he’s known for encouraging students to be themselves. But, as he told former student Samantha Liebman, when he was a young teacher 30 years ago, he had a very different style.

Originally aired June 24, 2011, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

Note: StoryCorps founder Dave Isay went to high school at Friends Seminary, where John teaches. That did not factor into choosing this story for broadcast.

When you give, you help us record, share and preserve these voices for generations to come.

Each week, the StoryCorps podcast shares these unscripted conversations, revealing the wisdom, courage, and poetry in the words of people you might not notice walking down the street.