We like to network with school teachers. They often have great stories to tell about incidents in the classroom and classroom learning. It is all about short stories and their use in a classroom environment.
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Famously, Dr. Seuss wrote Green Eggs & Ham after betting that he couldn’t produce a story using less than 50 words. The research shows Seuss was on to something. Most people naturally take the path of “least resistance” and build off of older or existing concepts when brainstorming, which can lead to less creative ideas.
Have you ever wondered why movie stories like Toy Story are so compelling and fruitful? The best writers in the world speak to universal human themes—the things that drive every one of us no matter what our worldview is.
Compelling storylines work because we see ourselves reflected in the characters. Their story is our story. A great script looks us right in the eye and says, “I see you.” Contrast that feeling with the one you get when you’re speaking to someone at a party, who is looking over his shoulder for the next most interesting person to enter the room. That’s exactly how you don’t want your customers and clients to feel.
The following classroom story is one of my favorites. It came from one of those many school teachers. We believe it will be one you remember.
This is a true story. It is an invaluable example of instilling the meaning of values … up-close and personal. We hope you agree that it is an excellent way to learn. We believe these students will remember it for a long time.
Classroom learning environment
In September of 2005, on the first day of school, Martha Cothren, a History teacher at Robinson High School in Little Rock, did something not to be forgotten. On the first day of school, with the permission of the school superintendent, the principal, and the building supervisor, she removed all of the desks in her classroom.
When the first-period kids entered the room, they discovered that there were no desks. ‘Ms. Cothren, where are our desks?’
She replied, ‘You can’t have a desk until you tell me how you earn the right to sit at a desk.’ They thought, ‘Well, maybe it’s our grades.’ ‘No,’ she said.
‘Maybe it’s our behavior.’ She told them, ‘No, it’s not even your behavior.’
And so, they came and went, the first period, second period, third period. Still no desks in the classroom. Kids called their parents to tell them what was happening and by early afternoon television news crews had started gathering at the school to report about this crazy teacher who had taken all the desks out of her room.
The final period of the day came and as the puzzled students found seats on the floor of the desk-less classroom. Martha Cothren said, ‘Throughout the day no one has been able to tell me just what he or she has done to earn the right to sit at the desks that are ordinarily found in this classroom. Now I am going to tell you.’
Classroom environment … always remember
At this point, Martha Cothren went over to the door of her classroom and opened it. Twenty-seven (27) U.S. Veterans, all in uniform, walked into that classroom, each one carrying a school desk. The Vets began placing the school desks in rows, and then they would walk over and stand alongside the wall.
By the time the last soldier had set the final desk in place those kids had started to understand, perhaps for the first time in their lives, just how the right to sit at those desks had been earned.
Martha said, ‘You didn’t win the right to sit at these desks. These heroes did it for you. They placed the desks here for you. They went halfway around the world, giving up their education and interrupting their careers and families so you could have the freedom you have.
Now, it’s up to you to sit in them. It is your responsibility to learn, to be good students, to be good citizens. They paid the price so that you could have the freedom to get an education. Don’t ever forget it.’
Effective classroom environment … true story
By the way, this teacher was awarded Veterans of Foreign Wars Teacher of the Year for the State of Arkansas in 2006. She is the daughter of a WWII POW.
Do you think this is worth passing along, so others won’t forget either, that the freedoms we have in this great country were earned by our U.S. Veterans?
We do, and this is why we are sharing the story. We hope you will also pass it on.
Let us always remember the men and women of our military and the rights and freedoms they have maintained for us.
What about you … do you have any similar stories to share with this community? Any comments to add?
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Mike Schoultz is the founder of Digital Spark Marketing, a digital marketing and customer service agency. With 40 years of business experience, he blogs on topics that relate to improving the performance of your business. Find him on G+, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
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