Do Teachers Complain About A Certain Student?

Do Teachers Complain About A Certain Student?

Stephen Carter
February 26, 2024
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This past summer, I had the privilege of hearing Willie Robertson (of Duck Dynasty fame) speak at a conference. The truth was, I knew very little about Duck Dynasty and next to nothing about Willie Robertson, but within minutes I was captivated.

Willie started off talking about “trickle-down fried chicken” and how he didn’t even know that fried chicken had cuts other than wing tips and leftover scraps because, being the youngest, he was at the end of the table, and he got the plate of fried chicken last. He reasoned, later in life, that the person who paid for the chicken got the liberty of choosing the first pieces—and he resolved to be the one who paid for the chicken.

He then told a story, which is all too familiar, of getting in trouble as a student in elementary for selling items out of his locker to classmates. In his case, it was Bazooka bubble gum, and he attracted the attention of the principal who promptly put a stop to such shenanigans—after all, we can’t have students being entrepreneurial now can we?

Willie looked out at the crowd and paused for effect. “You know,” he said, “if I had known better at the time I would have responded differently. Instead of stopping the selling of gum like the principal asked, I should have cut him in on the deal.”

The crowd went wild and with that, Willie summed up the state of entrepreneurship in schools. We, as educators, can do everything in our power to quelch the natural entrepreneurial drive of students who may not fit our traditional mold. Many of these students will frustrate teachers and cause them to complain endlessly in the faculty lunchroom, but it is often these students who go on to think outside the box and accomplish amazing things.

I resonated with Willie’s story because I, too, was chastised for selling gum in elementary school. When I discovered that a $1 pack of Bubblicious chewing gum could be turned into $5 gross revenue, my sixth-grade business mind took off—until it was stopped by my mother who warned me that I would soon attract the attention of the administration and face severe consequences.

I stopped. Like Willie, however, I wish I had known better.

But I also wish the administrators and teachers had known better. I wish they had seen, as I do now, that those moments are to be celebrated, not penalized. I wish they had seen, as I do now, that those students should be rewarded, not punished.

I wish they had seen the value of the entrepreneurial mindset.


Selling Gum in School=Budding Entrepreneur…(this image was generated by AI)


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