Marvin Marshall (who is one of my favorite writers on positive classroom management strategies) has a monthly email newsletter. I’d encourage you to subscribe to it here.

His most recent newsletter included some good stories he got from Bill Page.

I can’t find a link to the newsletter or to those stories, though, so I’m going to reprint a couple of them here:


During my second month of college, our professor gave us a
pop quiz. I was a conscientious student and had breezed
through the questions until I read the last one: “What is
the first name of the woman who cleans the area?”

Surely this was some kind of joke. I had seen the cleaning
woman several times. She was tall, dark-haired, and in her
50’s, but how would I know her name?

I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. Just
before class ended, one student asked if the last question
would count toward the grade.

“Absolutely,” said the professor. “In your careers, You will
meet, many people. All are significant. They deserve your
attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say

I’ve never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name
was Dorothy.


In ancient times, a king had a boulder placed in the center
of a roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see if
anyone would remove the huge rock. Some of the king’s’
wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked
around it. Many loudly blamed the king for not keeping the
roads clear, but none did anything about getting the stone
out of the way.

Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables.
Upon approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his
burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road.
After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded.
After the peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he
noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had
been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note from
the king indicating that the gold was for the person who
removed the boulder from the roadway. The peasant learned
what many never understand: Every obstacle presents an
opportunity to improve our condition.