Chapter 6


One year, the most popular activity among the boys was soccer. It was so popular that a teacher had to act as referee. Otherwise the large group of 30 children would wreak havoc on one another. Imagine a pinball machine with each student’s two feet as the triggers. With 60 triggers, each game was exciting and then some.

At recess one afternoon, the black and white ball rolled toward the far goal with Joe and José in close pursuit. Both of their heads were down as they looked at the ball, and naturally they collided and fell to the ground. A simple accident, you might think, but not Joe.

This fierce athlete jumped to his feet, puffed out his chest, and assumed a stance similar to that of a king cobra threatening its enemy.

Within seconds, he’d pushed José back to the ground and jumped on top of him, and the two began rolling around, battling for control.
Mr. Olavarri ran to the boys faster than his aching knee would have liked and separated them. “Off this soccer field now,” he sternly ordered.
Joe screamed back with the entire fourth grade watching, “F*** you!”


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About the author

Josh Duncan is a former elementary school teacher who was inspired to enter the classroom because he wanted to help kids who reminded him of himself—an impoverished child whose parents and brothers were incarcerated, who didn’t know where his next meal was coming from, and whose toes poked through the holes of his shoes. After teaching for four and a half years, Josh made the leap from classroom to CEO in order to forge connections with the business community and create a network of influential leaders. His goal is to make real change in lower income classrooms.

He hopes to influence thousands of teachers who in turn will reach many more children than he could in a single classroom. His debut book Lessons from the Trenches: How Teachers Change the Trajectory of Lower Income Students creates awareness and offers insight into the challenges lower income students face. The CEO and founder of the web design and social marketing firm Software Blueprint, LLC and the founder of the non-profit organization Camp AHA, Josh lives in Dallas, Texas.