Why A Teacher Has Left A Chair Unfilled In His Classroom For 52 Years

Gill has been a teacher in Montclair, New Jersey, for decades. He can look back on a lifetime of experience thanks to his 52 years.

As Principal Erika Pierce put it, “Who can say, ‘I’ve been in the building 52 years!’?”

“Kids are great – I love kids. They’re honest, forgiving, they don’t hold grudges,” Gill made the comment.  Since he made a three-year commitment to the students who came to him in the sixth grade, Gill, who is scheduled to depart in June 2023, has one more year left on his contract.  He vowed to stay with them all the way up to eighth grade.

When Gill goes, he’ll find a lot of work waiting for him. He is now working on a novel that will be titled “No More Chairs.” The origin of the name stems from an instance of prejudice that he saw when he was nine years old. He and his Black friend, Archie, went to a birthday celebration, but the homeowner turned Archie away, claiming that there were no more seats. “And she said it again, ‘you can come in, Archie can’t,’ my friend was humiliated,” Gill said.

It has influenced Gill’s teaching, nurturing, and leadership style until this day. His children understand why he has left a chair unfilled in his classroom. “It’s a symbol to show kids there is room for everyone. There’s always a chair,” Gill adds.

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