Dispatches from the Moth · Posted On: May 14, 2024

Lesson #67: Thank you teachers! “Not in the Lesson Plan” - James Hamilton

by The Moth Staff

Lesson #67: Thank you teachers!  “Not in the Lesson Plan” - James Hamilton

Happy May! For this teacher’s appreciation month we wanted to highlight a story from our archives that celebrates the importance of educators. We here at the Moth are so grateful for you.

This month’s Storytelling School story is:

Not in the Lesson Plan” by James Hamilton

  • Watch the video. 

  • You can read the transcript of James’s story here.

After you’ve watched and read the story, you can do the following activities: 

Talk to each other about James's story. 

  • For each post, we’ll highlight a different crafting strategy for how to make your story compelling. For this post, we’ll focus on GOOD IDEA GONE BAD. We encourage our workshop participants to find some humility in their stories to allow listeners to commiserate and empathize. When we’re able to admit we don’t have it all figured out ALL the time, our stories feel less like a brag and more like an invitation to connect to the audience.

  •  What did you relate to in James’s experience? How did that change your experience listening?

Let’s Play “Have You Ever”

Raise your hand if … 

  • You’ve ever felt that school is fun.

  • You’ve ever had recess at school.

  • You’ve ever had not had recess at school..

  • You’ve ever felt that school was strict.

  • You’ve ever come up with a game during recess.

  • You’ve ever gotten hurt during a game during a recess.

  • You’ve ever maybe played with your friends a little too hard.

  • You’ve ever been an energetic kid.

  • You’ve ever been the quiet kid.

  • You’ve ever gotten hurt at school.

  • You’ve ever played on a jungle gym.

  • You’ve ever stood in a straight line.

  • You’ve ever had a good idea go bad.

Write or tell your own story.

At The Moth, we believe in celebrating the diversity and commonality of human experience. Often, listening to someone’s story reminds us of a story from our own lives. While you almost definitely have not had Maxies’s exact experience, it still may have reminded you of a story from your life. Get inspired by these prompt questions to tell your own story.

  • Sometimes no one understands! Think back to when you were younger - did you ever play/come up with/ have fun with a game that your parents, teachers, or friends just didn’t get? Draw those items or activities out on a piece of paper and around each one, like a mind map, write: 1) how the item/activity used to make you feel, 2) how you would describe it to the misunderstanding elder in your life, and/or 3) what your life would look like now if you were still playing the same game (that is, if you ever stopped playing or evolving it!). Example: this author used to play sea creatures where all the participants had to become sea creatures and then guess who everyone else was (think charades with even more laughing).

  • What’s one way that you could be a real life superhero, like by bringing recess to school? We may not always have a high speed chase to participate in, but sometimes even the smallest gestures can save the day for someone.

Share this post with a friend!

And check back the second Tuesday of every month for another story.

Storyteller bio

James Hamilton is a teacher who currently resides in NYC. This is the first story he told with The Moth in 2018.

About The Moth Education Program

The Moth Education Program works with young people and educators to build community through storytelling workshops, performances and innovative resources.

We are always looking for more young people and educators to join our storytelling workshops!  To learn more, apply for a workshop, or refer someone you know, please go to themoth.org/education

The Moth Education Program is made possible by generous support from Unlikely Collaborators.

Additional program support is provided by the New York State Council on the Arts, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, The Gottesman Fund, The Cornelia T. Bailey Foundation and Con Edison.