Theodore's World: The Classroom ~ A lesson that should be taught in all schools . . and colleges!

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September 06, 2009

The Classroom ~ A lesson that should be taught in all schools . . and colleges!

The Classroom

A lesson that should be taught in all schools . . and colleges!

Back in September of 2005, on the first day of school, Martha Cothren, a social studies school 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
out of her classroom.

When the first period kids entered the room they discovered that
there were no desks.. 'Ms. Cothren, where're 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.
By early afternoon television news crews had started gathering in Ms.Cothren's classroom 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 deskless classroom, Martha Cothren said, 'Throughout the day no one has been able to tell me just what he/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.'
At this point, Martha Cothren went over to the door of her classroom and opened it.
Twenty-seven (27) U.S. Veterans, all in uniforms, 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 along side the wall. By the time the last soldier had set the final desk in place those kids 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 earn the right to sit at these desks. These heroes did it for you. They placed the desks here for you. 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.'


This true story was taken from a speech given by former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C. on March 2, 2007. It describes events in Cothren's Military History class in 2005.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars chose Cothren as a Teacher of the Year in Arkansas for 2005-2006.


Wild Thing's comment......

This story gave me goozebumps, what a marvelous way for the teacher to get them to see her point.

Here is a little more about Martha Cothren, I googled her name to try to find out a little more about her. I loved this story about her so much. Thanks again Mark.

"The room was indeed devoid of desks, with the missing furniture borne in at the end of the day by a group of veterans. Each vet carried a desk and set it down, as the teacher gave her lesson on the cost of things taken for granted and the debt owed to those in the forces.

I talked to Martha Cothren about that day and also about her military history class. This daughter of a World War II POW regularly has veterans visit her classroom— it's one of the ways she teaches her course on the history of World War II and the Vietnam War.
Her class doesn't yet have a textbook (she is busy writing one), so she uses less typical methods of imparting knowledge about those events to her students. Part and parcel of what she teaches is an appreciation for members of the armed forces.
In May 2005, she and her class organized a Vietnam Veterans Recognition Week, including an official "Thank You Ceremony" held in the Joe T. Robinson High School auditorium. Veterans from World War II and the Korean War also attended, as did people from all walks of life, to honor those who had served. During that week, students videotaped veterans as they recounted their war memories, thus preserving their stories for later generations.
Cothren and her students have sent numerous care packages to U.S. military personnel serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. They also write letters to soldiers in those theaters, sending off 1,200 missives in 2005-2006.

....Thank you Mark for sending this to me.

3rd Mar.Div. 1st Battalion 9th Marine Regiment
1/9 Marines aka The Walking Dead
VN 66-67

Posted by Wild Thing at September 6, 2009 02:46 AM


Wow, I'm impressed!

Even though I graduated in the 70's I still remember things I learned from a few of the really good teachers I had a long the way. And I remember those things daily.

Posted by: Eden at September 6, 2009 09:47 AM

Having graduated with the "Class of 1958", I know what it is to be offered "Civics", to be told that if I should study hard, get good grades and be a citizen in class that I would have a shot at honors. I saw that those who chose not to apply themselves were ridiculed, and left out of things that they'd not earned.
I am told that today many schools are doing away with the honors programs because slovenly Jimmy or Suzie would feel bad that honors weren't handed to them.
My freedom, just as those students in the post was granted by my father and his brothers in arms. I had the right to be respectful in school, and chose to exercise that right most of the time.
It is no wonder that todays voter is blatently ignorant of that/whom which he/she is voting for. Voting is a priviledge that should be accompanied with some education to the ballot items.
nuf sed

Posted by: Frankly Opinionated at September 6, 2009 11:39 AM

Matha Ccothren is more than just an effective teacher. She is also a very patriotic American. I am glad that there are Americans like her. Normally we don't hear about the patriotic types from the MSM. They tend more towards promoting the radicalor the professional "victims" of society.

Posted by: TomR at September 6, 2009 01:38 PM

Yes, indeed Tom, She is one special lady. There are good teachers out there and they should be praised and admired.

Posted by: Mark at September 6, 2009 05:11 PM

Eden, me too, I know what you mean.
There are teachers that stand out,that
go that extra mile in how they teach.

Posted by: Wild Thing at September 6, 2009 06:58 PM

Frankly, thanks for sharing. I agree too
what you said about voting.

Posted by: Wild Thing at September 6, 2009 07:00 PM

Tom, so true, she really is a Patriot.

Posted by: Wild Thing at September 6, 2009 07:01 PM

Mark, I agree, I love to learn about
people like Martha. This story was so
good it will live in my heart.

Posted by: Wild Thing at September 6, 2009 07:03 PM