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Teacher-Soldier: Standing at the front of classroom filled with roughly two dozen eighth-grade students, a man in his late twenties with Kennedyesque features teaches a lesson on how to form an argumentative essay using Harper Lee’s novel “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

“When explaining a quote, you need to first ensure you know what it fully means,” said Gregory Kessler, an English language arts teacher at the Horace Mann Middle School in Franklin, Massachusetts. “You need to show how it supports your claim.”

As his class looked on intently, Kessler continued to explain how to use evidence from the text to prove a claim.

“This could be a sentence or two putting a quote in your own words,” said Kessler. “It is an easy way to start off your explanation. It gets you thinking more deeply about the quote itself.”

A lesson on writing a well-developed essay is typical in most middle schools. The man teaching it, on the other hand, is anything but standard issue. In addition to working in his community as an educator, Kessler also serves his country as a part-time Soldier in the Massachusetts Army National Guard.

Kessler’s military and civilian career have grown side-by-side. After graduating from Athol High School in Athol, Massachusetts, Kessler accepted an Army ROTC scholarship.

“I saw it as a great way to help out my community and pay for college,” he said. Read more

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Teacher-Soldier: Standing at the front of classroom filled with roughly two dozen eighth-grade students, a man in his late twenties with Kennedyesque features teaches a lesson on how to form an argumentative essay using Harper Lee’s novel “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

“When explaining a quote, you need to first ensure you know what it fully means,” said Gregory Kessler, an English language arts teacher at the Horace Mann Middle School in Franklin, Massachusetts. “You need to show how it supports your claim.”

As his class looked on intently, Kessler continued to explain how to use evidence from the text to prove a claim.

“This could be a sentence or two putting a quote in your own words,” said Kessler. “It is an easy way to start off your explanation. It gets you thinking more deeply about the quote itself.”