LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Since the start of the Reading Roadtrip two and a half years ago, what has fascinated me, is the different ways teachers get control of their unruly classes.
One teacher I saw would do waterfalls and the kids would get quiet.
One teacher would use the McDonald's jingle. She'd go 'bah dah ba dah bap' and the kids would sing in unison: "I'm lovin it." Then they'd be quiet.
Another teacher would do the Mexican hat dance and the kids would clap. And then they'd be quiet. The clapping method is widespread.
The point is: teachers have power -- to get a class to be quiet, or to change and influence young lives.
And my roadtrips have also taught me what teachers focus on the most: faces.
As I read books to the kids, I look up and I see the teachers watching the faces.
They see who is getting it, who has tuned out, who is with the words and story -- which faces reflect growth, pain, boredom, or enlightenment.
My reading initiative has also allowed me to look into the faces of state commissioner Johnny Key and several staff members.
They've become the bad guys here in Little Rock.
It's true. We are at an impasse and there really doesn't need to be one.
Our state board and governor could end it with six words tweeted to Little Rock teachers: "What can we do to help?"
It's as simple as that. If not, tomorrow's commission meeting will need a teacher doing waterfalls.