All Hands on Deck; Don’t Deck the Hands

Today in Vacation Bible School at the church we were wrapping up over 200 barbeque sandwiches. It took a while to work out the system. When we first started we’d run into each other and shuffle, but eventually we got the system down. We were laughing because one person saw a “quality control” issue where we’d put two bun tops together.  We laughed and fixed it – but she commented:

“Wouldn’t you know when that happens that the most ornery person in the whole place would have gotten that sandwich.”

Yes, that is about how it goes.

This quote came out of that conversation – we had to do another 50 plates and I yelled out —

“All hands on deck and don’t deck the hands!”  

(For my international friends, deck is a word for slugging or hitting someone!)

Someone else said

“And if our hand quits, we don’t have any more hands!”

It fits.

Why do we deck the hands?
Sometimes when we’ve got everyone working on something new and there is an issue, we lay blame on the hands! This is particularly irritating if we let someone who isn’t even working in the process totally frustrate and make us want to quit. (i.e. the ornery person who got the bbq sandwich with two tops!)

Those people are working, sweating, and have just produced many excellent products and mess up on one! Just one! Don’t deck the hands, friends!  They might not quit on your physically but they just might quit psychologically which is even worse. Then, you have a body taking a spot who isn’t really there!

So, as you work on 1:1 laptop implementation and all of the projects this summer — call it out!

“All hands on deck; don’t deck the hands!”

Good luck!

Never miss an episode

Get the 10-minute Teacher Show delivered to your inbox.

Powered by ConvertKit
Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

All Posts »


YESnack July 3, 2010 - 6:59 pm

I really like your blog. I used to teach ESL for about 10 years in Taiwan. Now I am back in the USA and I work in the computer industry, but I still write educational songs for children for fun. My website is My goal is to make learning delicious one song at a time. I just released a new project titled Learning Buffet and you can download free mp3 of the song “Love My Cat” and “Chinese Zodiac Sign” at the home page. Please visit, download the song “For Free”, tell your friends and share your thoughts. Keep up the COOL CAT Blogging. :-)

Bron-wyn July 5, 2010 - 4:40 am

Words to live by indeed. We recently had a blame game going on in our household. My 5 year old son got a pair of beard scissors out of the bathroom and cut his hair in two places leaving bald spots. My husband had to buzz his hair off. My son keeps telling everyone that his new haircut is “all Daddy’s fault.” It’s not exactly related to what you were talking about, but it’s a cute story. On decking hands, a little understanding and mercy goes a long way when working on projects.

TeacherThink July 5, 2010 - 4:58 am

I LOVE your site! I just started my own site called TeacherThink, which gives HowTos, Reviews, and a general place for teachers to THINK. I agree that teaching is a noble calling…thanks for your work!

TeacherThink Jeff

Graham Wegner July 5, 2010 - 11:21 am

Forget the other meaning of deck (I got that one) – what the heck is “ornery”?

Slrman July 5, 2010 - 12:48 pm

“Vacation Bible School”? DO you mean “further brainwashing of children”?

What a disgusting concept.

John Peters July 5, 2010 - 6:48 pm


Great post! I do agree that when we are implementing a new idea, concept or technology, and when, almost inevitably things go slower than expected, we see that someone gets the blame for it not working the way it should. Rather, we should see how it is we may help in making the implementation go smoother.

Vicki A. Davis July 5, 2010 - 8:07 pm

@YESnack – Thank you for sharing your site, I’ll take a look.

@Bron-wyn – I love the story! Thank goodness children’s hair grow back quickly.

@Teacherthink – I’ll take a look – not sure if you put a hyperlink in, though – feel free to show one.

@Graham – LOL – “Ornery” means “fussy” or “crabby” or just “cranky” — any of those relate?

@Slrman – I fully respect your right and your opinion, however, this event is truly one of the greatest in our community. Each of us should make up our own mind on facts of religion (and certainly it sounds like you’ve made up yours) – it is good for children to understand their options and make up their own minds – surely absence of any acknowledgement of religion is also a brainwashing of sorts as well. Again, I fully respect your right to believe as you do and hope that you know I welcome your right to your opinion to be shared here.

@John – Very well phrased comment there – wow – I need to go back and insert that into the post. I hope that this helps those who play the blame game to realize that they should step back and be part of the solution.

TeacherThink July 6, 2010 - 3:14 am


You can click on my name (before “said”) to get the hyperlink…but here it is: It is still a ways away, but I plan on putting some time into it! So please don’t give up on it. In response to the VBS comment by @sirman: open your mind a little bit. Wow! I feel bad for your kids if you have any, for they certainly won’t have the chance to make up their mind for themselves…I call that brainwashing!


Comments are closed.

The Cool Cat Teacher Blog
Vicki Davis writes The Cool Cat Teacher Blog for classroom teachers everywhere
Update Required Flash plugin