Friday, April 06, 2007

A Valuable Lesson

From Snopes, the Urban Legends Reference database, a story that turns out not to be an urban myth:

In September of 2005, a social studies schoolteacher from Arkansas did
something not to be forgotten. On the first day of school, with permission of
the school superintendent, the principal, and the building supervisor, she took
all of the desks out of the classroom. The kids came into first period, they
walked in; there were no desks. They obviously looked around and said, "Where's
our desks?"

The teacher said, "You can't have a desk until you tell me how you earn

They thought, "Well, maybe it's our grades."

"No," she said.

"Maybe it's our behavior."

And she told them, "No, it's not even your behavior."

And so they came and went in the first period, still no desks in the
classroom. Second period, same thing. Third period. By early afternoon
television news crews had gathered in the class to find out about this crazy
teacher who had taken all the desks out of the classroom. The last period of the
day, the instructor gathered her class.

They were at this time sitting on the floor around the sides of the
room. She said, "Throughout the day no one has really understood how you earn
the desks that sit in this classroom ordinarily. Now I'm going to tell you."

She went over to the door of her classroom and opened it, and as she
did 27 U.S. veterans, wearing their uniforms, walked into that classroom, each
one carrying a school desk. And they placed those school desks in rows, and then
they stood along the wall. By the time they had finished placing the desks,
those kids for the first time I think perhaps in their lives understood how they
earned those desks.

Their teacher said, "You don't have to earn those desks. These guys did
it for you. They put them out there for you, but it's up to you to sit here
responsibly, to learn, to be good students and good citizens, because they paid
a price for you to have that desk, and don't ever forget it."


At 10:44 AM, April 07, 2007, Blogger Kate said...

Wow! If only schools would teach that lesson every single day of the year!


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