In my 10 years of teaching, I have been called upon to do many last minute assemblies. You always need a few stories up your sleeve, and this one has been a trusty companion, weaving it's way into many different assemblies on many different themes.
It is adapted from an essay by Loren Eiseley (1969), but is often found without attribution and in various different forms. He is one such version:
“While wandering a deserted beach at dawn, stagnant in my work, I saw a man in the distance bending and throwing as he walked the endless stretch toward me. As he came near, I could see that he was throwing starfish, abandoned on the sand by the tide, back into the sea. When he was close enough I asked him why he was working so hard at this strange task. He said that the sun would dry the starfish and they would die. I said to him that I thought he was foolish. There were thousands of starfish on miles and miles of beach. One man alone could never make a difference. He smiled as he picked up the next starfish. Hurling it far into the sea he said, "It makes a difference for this one." I abandoned my writing and spent the morning throwing starfish.”
I think it is also a useful reflection for weary teachers, wondering why they are doing the things they do.
Watch a version here:
Image courtesy of Wikipedia