Making A Difference

In every school and every school district, there are teachers who find unique and creative ways to deal with all Colors of students in practical and effective ways:

By all accounts, Henry was one of the best teachers in his high school. He is Green/Gold. (Along with Gold/Green, it is the color combination of a large number of teachers). His classes consisted of more than 50 percent Orange students whose mind-set toward rules, deadlines, and being on time was quite the opposite of Henry’s. Even decades ago, he started to realize that traditional learning styles were not going to reach these kids.

An appropriate method of disciplining Orange students was always a challenge. The traditional method of sending them to the Principal’s office had minimal effects on his students. In fact, to many it was almost a status symbol amongst their friends. It became more of a way of showing off, rather than one of accepting punishment. Henry’s Green/Gold also wanted to deal with this challenge himself without simply passing the problem off to administrators. This reflected his strong Gold sense of accepting responsibility, and the strength of the Green mindset in looking at the big picture and finding an innovative solution.

But Henry needed to deal with the pent-up Orange energy of most of his students, their need to always be on the move, and their lack of proper school discipline. His solution was simple, yet powerful. “Get down and do 20 push-ups!” While his students were horrified at first, it soon became almost a game in his classes. It was an innovative solution which balanced the need for discipline with a very Orange chance to show off and do something physical.

Until he passed away, Henry often ran into students who graduated decades ago. Some of them still dropped to the ground in the middle of a mall, and excitedly show off to Henry, and now their kids, that they could still do the 20 push ups. They were and are Orange, and although adults now, they still loved to perform and show off to a teacher who made a measurable impact on their lives.

A P.S. from George: Henry’s real name was Hans Heller, my stepfather. This excerpt is from the Colorful Personalities book in memory of the anniversary of his death in October 2012.