Don’t let pride stand in the way a brighter future #EurekaMoment #LifeLesson 4


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Substitute Teachers Must be as Flexible as Reed Richards (Mr. Fantastic)

I reported to work at Stoney Elementary School at 7:10 am, five minutes earlier than my substitute teacher schedule required.

“We need you to go immediately to the cafeteria and supervise another class until their sub arrives. Candace, the office manager said,

“Sure, no problem, I said. I had taught at Stoney before and had a good relationship with Candace and the teachers. “What’s up?”

“The other sub is here but he is eating breakfast.”

“Have no fear, Mr. Terry is here!” I responded.

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Later I met the breakfast-eating sub, Stan. He was a teacher in the classroom next to mine.

Stan told me that he had an argument with Candace because he had arrived to school at 7:00 am in order to eat his breakfast before starting his job, at 7:30 am. When Candace told him that his starting time was incorrect and that he was needed right away in the cafeteria, he refused.

“Do you think I’m in trouble?” Stan asked.

“I think you should apologize to Candace, if you ever want to work here again.”

“I can’t. I was completely within my rights to eat my breakfast before starting work.”

“I agree that you are within his rights, but what school wants a substitute teacher who is not flexible? You’ll win the battle, but lose the war.”

Newspaper Delivery Boy Principles

My very first job was as a newspaper delivery boy for the The Rocky Mountain News. I was a 13 year old student at North Middle School in Aurora, Colorado. The papers were dropped off at my house at 2:30 am. I folded the papers and loaded them into my bike bags.

It took two hours to deliver the papers, counting the time for me to reload my bags half way through the neighborhood. I delivered papers every day, whether it was snowing, raining or below freezing. I felt it was my duty to complete my job, even under adverse circumstances. I feel the same way about substitute teaching.


My obliging attitude opened the door for a plethora of teaching jobs at Stoney.

In Stan’s case, the manager and the principal were in a tight spot. Stan’s right to eat was superseded by the greater good of the school.

The Lesson

Don’t let pride stand in the way a brighter future.



Authors note:

These stories are my attempt to glean insights from the seemingly mundane incidents that occur in every day life. My plan is to capture these “eureka moments” and squeeze all the illumination and inspiration from them, before they can slip through my fingers.

Like the storytelling of Abraham Lincoln, I think one’s own personal stories can transform both the listener and the speaker.


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Upcoming Presentations

Nov. 13, 2015. “Once Upon A Time: Inspire and engage your audience with stories.” Present Like a Pro Conference. Desert Diamond Casino. Tucson, Arizona.

Nov. 24th, 2015. “Abraham Lincoln: Stories and Humor.” Cholla High School. Tucson, Arizona.

Dec. 15, 2015, 12:40 to 1:00 pm. “Abe Lincoln: The Greatest Storytelling President.” Old Pueblo Rotary Club. Hotel Tucson. Tucson, Arizona.

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