I particularly like a passage from pages 55 and 56 where Rose discusses his relationship with a writing professor. He states, "Perhaps he was more directive than some would like, but, to be truthful, direction was what I needed. I was easily frustrated, and it didn't take a lot to make me doubt myself... So Ted Erlandson's linguistic parenting felt just right: a modeling of grace until it all slowly, slowly began to work itself into the way I shaped language."
This passage represents a major theme throughout the book, summarized on those two pages in a couple of sentences. He constantly speaks of a mentor-like relationship as he develops and later as a teacher himself. He seems to believe and acknowledge that it was his mentors that really pushed him and that personal relationships were what truly formed his education. I believe he is right to make such a repetitive point throughout the book.
I can only think of one or two teachers that made me feel welcome in their lives, not just their office. These teachers are the ones that actually lit educational fires in me and pushed me along certain paths. Most teachers do not really feel that is there role. They like hiding in their offices and classrooms, but do not give out their phone numbers or invite you over for a barbecue as Rose describes one of his professors doing each Saturday for his students.
I know very well that many professors and teachers are extremely busy, but having those real life meetings to chat about "stuff and things", rather than discuss a particular point from class is what really hooks people. I believe most students are looking for a friend and inspiration, rather than a teacher, and to be honest most teachers just aren't very friendly or inspiring, which is why they fail to reach so many students.