It’s not every day that you show up to school have have your classroom surrounded with shoes from inspirational people.
Two years ago, teacher Matt Hamilton started a “Shoe Club” as a way to reach each of his students. In order to become a member of the club, students must read two motivational books, write a short paper about what they learned from reading the books and come up with 10 goals they have set for themselves.
After completing these steps, they can bring in a shoe for me to hang into the classroom. He currently has over 100 shoes and he says “it only stinks a little bit, haha”. The shoes hang as reminders to all of the students to work hard, make good choices, to not bully others, and to walk in each other’s shoes.
They meet regularly to discuss situations the kids encounter as well as participate in several volunteer projects. The point of the club is to help kids deal with life’s issues in appropriate ways, set goals and to dream big.
Mr. Hamilton’s classroom holds shoes from all sorts of people, inventors and athletes. Michael Jordan, Arnold Palmer, Tony Hawk, Maria Sharapova, Martin Cooper, Charlie Duke and Erik Weihenmayer are a few people who have sent us their shoes. These shoes serve as an inspiration for club members and other students. Each person that he receives shoes from of course has their own unique story and lesson that he makes sure to share with his students. It has allowed him to talk and focus on such topics as; vision, persistence, determination, optimism, thoughtfulness, opportunism, perseverance, ingenuity, confidence and leadership to name a few.
These things would be hard to talk about in a regular 6th grade social studies setting. In his program he is using the shoes to inspire and motivate his students in a lot of different way.
Hopefully the dedication of this one teacher to enrich his students lives will be carried to other schools and programs.