I Wonder If Teachers Know How Important They Are.

Run—don’t walk—to your nearest book store and get a copy of Ron Clark’s book “The Essential 55: An Award-Winning Educator’s Rules for Discovering the Successful Student in Every Child.” I purchased the book the other day intending it for our daughter-in-law who is home-schooling her three little ones. I enjoyed Clark’s stories so much, I’m going to buy another copy for myself!

Here is a sample, sort of a tasting buffet if you will, of Clark’s stories.

Ron Clark sometimes allowed his students to bring food into the class, if they kept it quiet and their space neat. But Tamanda had more food at her desk than aisle 9 at the Piggly Wiggly. When the science teacher did a lesson requiring food coloring, she discovered a small tube of green coloring missing. Mr. Clark asked if anyone had it, but no hands went up. cheap jerseys Later, he noticed that Tamanda’s face was completely green! She had hidden the coloring in her desk, unaware she had spilled some on her hands. When she rested her face in her hands, the green stain had spread. “Class,” the teacher said, “are you sure none of you took the green food coloring?” No response. Finally, he could not stand it any longer. “Tamanda,” he said, “don’t you know where the food coloring is?” “No sir,” she said, implying he was crazy to think she had taken it. All the while, she sat there as green as the Hulk. “Well, Tamanda,” said Mr. Clark, “just in case you do have it in your desk, I think you have already been punished enough.” The culprit eventually learned that her face was completely green and that half the student body learned she had для taken the coloring and then denied it, and they never let her forget it.


On another occasion, Mr. Clark confronted two students who had disobeyed him on a matter while he was out of the room. The other students had ny reported them, but the two girls adamantly denied any wrongdoing. One said, “I read my Bible, Mr. Clark. I’m honest.” Later, when it came out that she was guilty, Clark asked her why she had claimed to be a Bible-reader when she was clearly lying. “Well,” she said, “I haven’t read the whole Bible!”

In studying newspapers, the concept of classified ads was hard for the children in Clark’s upper elementary class to grasp. So, he suggested they chip in and buy an ad in the local paper. They asked a geography question: “What is the largest island on earth?” and gave the school address for people to respond. A dozen Memory letters came in, all with the wrong answer (the right answer is Greenland), and the kids were hooked. Soon, they were running ads in papers all over the area. That’s when a student suggested they go global. A small ad in the world-wide edition of “USA Today” would cost $12,000, which the students decided they could raise with car washes and such. As word of their endeavor spread, an anonymous friend contacted the editor of “USA Today” and volunteered to pay the entire amount.

The ad was addressed to “President Clinton and people around the world.” It asked, “What kills more people each year than AIDS, alcohol abuse, car accidents, murders, suicides, illegal drugs, and fires combined?” The students listed their mailing address, the school phone, and fax number. By the time Clark arrived for school that morning, the office was going crazy with phone calls and faxes. The first fax came from the Prime Minister of Canada. There were messages from the cast of “Friends,” sports teams, doctors in India, everyone. de Children from the class filled the school office to read the letters and field the calls. The three phone lines were frequently taken by children being interviewed wholesale nfl jerseys by radio stations. This went on cheap mlb jerseys all day and throughout the night, with the final number of contacts approaching 7,000. Then, the next day, the call came they had been hoping for.

The White House phoned to say Mrs. Clinton would call the class Friday morning at 11:45 am. That morning, the school library was filled with students, parents, community leaders, and the media. Mrs. Clinton spoke with each child in a 45-minute session. Then she invited the children to come to the While House and meet the president personally. Mr. Clark had advance warning of the invitation and that week had met with local business leaders who had contributed the money to fund the trip. “We’re all going to Washington, D.C.!” he announced to a roomful of tearful kids, parents, and teachers. A few weeks later, on their return, Clark and the children wrote a book about their experience. What a teacher.

I used to pray for my children, that God would give them at least one teacher in their school years who would treasure them as much as I do. I now realize that a better and more practical prayer would have been that the Lord give them teachers as special as the ones He gave me at crucial times in my life.

Remember the bumper sticker that says “If you can read this, thank a teacher”? I would like to propose a variation: “If you are a teacher, read this (book).”

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