Learning Through Stories (Cocktails Optional)

A lot has been written recently about storytelling as a teaching tool.  We don’t remember facts well, but we do remember stories.

In this blog I relate stories of my experiences working at a school district.  I do this because I hope that they are instructive. The danger is that I may inadvertently embarrass a particular person or institution.  It is for this reason that I change some of the facts, and I will always attempt to disguise the district where the event occurred and the names of the people involved.

cocktailBack in ancient days when I worked in a bank (in the 1980’s), a group of us used to go out drinking after work on a pretty regular basis.  Our group included a bunch of staff (including me) and several of the AVP’s and managers.

We talked nothing but shop.

We learned the culture and history of the organization through lots of really interesting stories.  For example, we learned about our elaborate vault closing procedures.  Once you set the number of hours that the vault will be closed, this could not be changed and the vault could not be opened until those number of hours had elapsed.  Why?  Because once a bank manager came in over the weekend and cleaned out about $200K.  The setting of the number of hours had to be verified by at least one other person.  We heard the story of the guy who set the timer for 24 extra hours and all the havoc that caused.

We learned that our elaborate opening procedures resulted from a robber who once hid in the bank overnight and then held the opening crew hostage.  We heard a lot of bank robbery stories.  This helped me keep calm during my own robbery experiences (yes, plural).

School district employees don’t seem to be great drinkers, or at least the same easy socialization and story sharing between management and staff does not seem to occur much.  I hope that the stories shared here are instructive and might to some degree provide a sort of virtual tavern.  Drinking while reading is entirely optional.

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