How To Earn Our Desks

Author Unknown


On the first day of school, Martha Cothren, a social studies school teacher did something not to be forgotten. With permission of the school superintendent, the principal and the building supervisor, she took all of the desks out of the classroom.

The kids came into first period, they walked in, there were no desks. They obviously looked around and said, “Ms. Cothren, where’s our desk?”

And she said, “You can’t have a desk until you tell me how you earn them.”

They thought, “Well, maybe it’s our grades.”

“No,” she said.

“Maybe it’s our behavior.”

And she told them, “No, it’s not even your behavior.”

And so they came and went in the first period, still no desks in the classroom. Second period, same thing. Third period. By early afternoon television news crews had gathered in Ms. Cothren’s class to find out about this crazy teacher who had taken all the desks out of the classroom.

The last period of the day, Martha Cothren gathered her class. They were at this time sitting on the floor around the sides of the room.

And she says, “Throughout the day no one has really understood how you earn the desks that sit in this classroom ordinarily.” She said, “Now I’m going to tell you.”flag-soldiers

Martha Cothren went over to the door of her classroom and opened it, and as she did 27 U.S. veterans, wearing their uniforms, walked into that classroom, each one carrying a school desk. And they placed those school desks in rows, and then they stood along the wall. And by the time they had finished placing those desks, those kids for the first time I think perhaps in their lives understood how they earned those desks.

Martha said, “You don’t have to earn those desks. These guys did it for you. They put them out there for you, but it’s up to you to sit here responsibly to learn, to be good students and good citizens, because they paid a price for you to have that desk, and don’t ever forget it.”


UPDATE: After posting this story, which I believed to be an adapted fictional account, I found out that it was in fact a real event with a real teacher. More can be read by clicking here. (Jon.)


Click here to see “The Declaration Made Easy”
Why we became a country.


14 thoughts on “How To Earn Our Desks

    • very cool what a way of teaching and learning , wish more schools were that way !!!maybe our world wouldn’t be the way it is today !

  1. I lost my Air Force Hero and appreciate this teacher so much. We need to remember we live in the best country in the world and it is because of our service men, women and families that we are so fortunate. Thank you from a widowed Air Force wife.

    • My Dearest D.K. I was a young girl during the Vietnam nightmare. I truly hope you are healed from the images that are taunting you. I remember walking with a classmate to the office for what we did not know but when we got to the office my friend started crying and when I saw it was her father who had been missing in action that came home. Well to say the least she cried and I fainted, when I woke up I can not describe the feeling of mixed emotions i had. So many of you sacrificed your life, time, families and well your very existence even today. PTSD is awful. To this day when I hear the national anthem I cry. You my precious child of God you are a patriot of the finest kind. There are not enough THANK You’s to go around for you. I wish you all who fought in this nightmare would get the money that the president receives. You are being prayed for to be healed of this for you to experience peace that passes all understanding, Peace be with you. Laura

  2. Amazing teacher. we need more like her. Children need to know and appreciate their nation and the freedoms that we have in the U.S. and how we came about those freedoms. Freedom isn’t free!

  3. Thanks for sharing! This made me tear up just reading it silently. So proud of all the veterans in my family and group of friends! Thanks to ALL our veterans and active duty!

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