Throughout my speaking career, I’ve been inspired by teachers who find unique and creative ways to connect with their students — motivating them to “challenge the common” and seek excellence. One such teacher, Angela Stoker of Las Vegas, Nevada, recently sent me this story from her own classroom experiences. Nice Bike, Angela! – Mark

Dear Mark,
I had a unique group of students who, out of sheer luck, had me for three years. You see, I was teaching 10th grade honors when they met me. I was quirky. Southern drawl, lamps instead of overhead lights. I make boys stand whenever a lady walks into the room, and say “yes ma’am” and “no ma’am.” By their junior year when I was given AP English Language and Composition, about half of them already knew what to expect. Sometimes I would stand on a desk or table to watch over them “to get a new perspective” (actually, it was only on testing days when I had a hunch some weren’t being honest in their abilities, but I didn’t tell them that).
Senior year came around and I was given one section of AP Literature and Composition. Now there were only about 10 students who were 3rd year “Stokerites.” At the end of that year, after the last scantron of the last semester test had been turned in, one little voice from a young lady in the back of the class asked “Is that everyone?” I assured her it was and she proceeded to stand up on top of her desk and proclaim, “Oh, Captain! My captain!” (a la Dead Poets Society). It was their equivalent of “Nice Bike.” We were connected.
—Angel Stoker, Durango High School, Las Vegas, NV