Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Teacher Teaches Capitalism Burns at Stake.

My last post got me thinking about the most memorable teacher I ever had.

In sixth grade, I had Mrs. Steele. She taught the requisite broad spectrum of subjects like math, English, social studies, etc. But she also taught capitalism.

Mrs. Steele created a market economy in her class. She printed Steele dollars. She gave everyone a job and a base salary. She also gave us the opportunity to earn more dollars by providing a meaningful service to the class. This was strictly optional. Like any real world economy, some people worked harder than others and soon a social class structure emerged.

To earn extra money, I approached Mrs. Steele with an idea to start a class newspaper. She as delighted and was supportive. I got started right away. I covered the news of the class; Kickball highlights. The much anticipated announcement of the dodgeball MVP. I listed upcoming events. I acknowledged the personal achievements of class members. I had a horoscope. I listed birthdays.

Mrs. Steele helped me with story ideas and editing. She also gave me supplies - the mimeograph paper. It is easy to make money when the cost of goods is zero. She also strongly encouraged everyone to buy my paper. This endeavor added $1,000 per week to my salary.

I also made a lot of money tutoring kids in Math.

Every last Friday in the month was market day. Kids would bring in unwanted toys and Mrs. Steele would bring in candy, baseball cards and some other small things she bought. The stuff Mrs. Steele brought in was sold at a fixed price. All the other stuff went to auction and went to the highest bidder. It was always quite exciting.

I never bought anything. I set a goal to have $100,000 at the end of the school year. My buddy and I had a secret competition to be the richest kid in the class. I ended up exceeding my goal and winning. I'm still winning thanks to Mrs. Steele.

If Mrs Steele taught capitalism in school today, she would be burned at the stake. The liberals and Psychologists like Doctor Ablow (or Dr. AimLow as I like to call him) would go on the TODAY show and call Mrs. Steele out and tell her that she is hurting the self-esteem of poor Johnny.

Johnny was literally poor (in school). He was making the minimum salary and getting fined for missing homework. Johnny was also literally stupid. He went into Mrs. Steele's desk when we had a substitute and stole a wad of Steele Dollars. When Mrs. Steele returned, she questioned the class regarding the missing money. No one confessed. It was the top story in the newspaper.

A week later at Market Day, Johnny, flush with cash, went on a buying spree. Mrs. Steele knew Johnny's financial situation, so she took the cash back and reported the situation to the principal and Johnny's mom. I reported the capture of the thief in the newspaper. (Mrs. Steele would not let me report the name of the robber).

Liberals would say that the capitalism experiment caused Johnny to steal. I had known Johnny since kindergarten. He was a punk on the road to no where and even the great Mrs. Steele could not teach him the cause and effect of hard work. But she taught me.

Thank you Mrs. Steele.


Tom said...

Neat story! I wish the teachers nowadays would be as creative (and even the ones back 40 years ago that I had).

Conservative Dad's Dad said...

Have you ever tried to track down Mrs Steel in order to thank her?

I had a few teachers who helped a rather sickly insecure kid to grow and go on to a successful life. I never thanked them. I think of them every time I see the Hallmark TV adv.about thanking a teacher. I especially would like to tell Mrs. Wells that "a ton of bricks never feel on my head." Fortunately, I didn't need that to happen for me to get what she was teaching.

I'd suggest sending this blog to Mrs. Steel if you can track her down. It would make her day or maybe put a cap on a well lived life.

Anonymous said...

So your only motivation was money? How empty.