A Teacher's Last Lesson

Her incurable illness is a powerful classroom tool

Doris Dillon knew she wanted to be a teacher from the moment she was named library monitor in third grade. For years she practiced on every doll, stuffed animal and family pet. When she graduated to real elementary school students, so deftly did she zero in on each child's learning style that it was said she could "teach a rock to read." Parents pleaded to have their children placed in her classes. Colleagues copied her methods. For hundreds of schoolkids in San Jose, Calif., Mrs. Dillon embodied some of their favorite fictional characters--Miss Rumphius, Ms. Frizzle and Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, all rolled...

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