When Mrs. Ruth Hopkins, a fourth-grade teacher in New York, looked at her class roster the first day of school, her excitement and joy of starting a new term was tinged with anxiety. In her class this year she would have Tommy T., the school’s most notorious “bad boy.” His third-grade teacher had constantly complained about Tommy to colleagues, the principal and anyone else who would listen.
He was not just mischievous; he caused serious discipline problems in the class, picked fights with the boys, teased the girls and seemed to get worse as he grew older. His only redeeming feature was his ability to learn rapidly and master the-school work easily.
Mrs. Hopkins decided to face the “Tommy problem” immediately. When she greeted her new students, she made little comments to each of them: “Rose, that’s a pretty dress you are wearing,” “Alicia, I hear you draw beautifully.” When she came to Tommy, she looked him straight in the eyes and said, “Tommy, I understand you are a natural leader. I’m going to depend on you to help me make this class the best class in the fourth grade this year.”
She reinforced this over the first few days by complimenting Tommy on everything he did and commenting on how this showed what a good student he was. With that reputation to live up to, even a nine-year-old couldn’t let her down – and he didn’t.
De-briefing of this story
If you encounter someone that isn’t doing as well, then don’t belittle them. Instead, find a way to build that person up by encouraging them to do better. The person can be led readily if you have his or her respect and if you show that you respect that person for some kind of ability.
Put another way, we can change a person’s attitude or behavior by giving them a big reputation to leave up to.
This story can be used to explain the importance of
1- People Skills
From the book “How to Win Friends and Influence people” by Dale Carnegie