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What Does a Teacher Make?

This past school year was my 35th year of teaching, and I still love teaching and students. This blog post is a reposting of something I sent out exactly five years and one day ago, at the conclusion of my 30th year of teaching. I can think of so many people in my past whose influence on me continues — several of them are reading this right now, and many who have passed away but who, in a sense, live on in their students. I'm sure many of you can think back to a teacher who made a huge impact on your life.

What does a teacher make?
by Taylor Mali

The dinner guests were sitting around the table discussing life. One man, a CEO, decided to explain the problem with education. He argued, "What's a kid going to learn from someone who decided his best option in life was to become a teacher?"

He went on to tell the other dinner guests that he thought it was true what they say about teachers - "Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach."

To corroborate his statements, he said to another guest, "You're a teacher, Susan. What do you make?"

Susan, who had a reputation of honesty and frankness, replied, "You want to know what I make?"

"I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could. I can make a C+ feel like the Medal of Honor and an A- feel like a slap in the face if the student did not do his or her very best."

"I can make kids sit through 40 minutes of study hall in absolute silence."

"I can make parents tremble in fear when I call home."

"You want to know what I make?"

"I make kids wonder."

"I make them question."

"I make them think critically."

"I make them apologize and mean it."

"I make them write."

"I make them read, read, read."

"I make them spell "definitely and beautiful" over and over again, until they will never misspell either one of those words again."

"I make them show all their work in math and hide it all on their final drafts in English."

"I make them experience music and art and the joy in performance, so their lives are rich, full of kindness and culture, and they take pride in themselves and their accomplishments."

"I make them understand that if you have the brains, then follow your heart ... and if someone ever tries to judge you by what you make, you pay them no attention."

"You want to know what I make? - I make a difference."

"Now, what do you make?"

Updated 9/1/2010: Someone kindly sent me the name of the author of that poem, and I have inserted his name under the title. He himself mentions that there are several unattributed, "sanitized versions" of the original that have made the rounds and he's not bothered by it. I'll leave what's a sanitized version up since the original contains some stronger language not typical of ivman's blague.


"Teachers open the door, but you must enter by yourself." - Chinese proverb

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2 teach is
2 touch lives
4 ever

De Agony of De Feet

We've just completed the third quarter of the first year of the Wellness Challenge at the university. If I continue to do as I have been doing, I should end the year in the gold category. This summer on week days, I have no problem at all getting at least 10,000 steps a day with my work at IT Help Desk. One day last month I got over 19,000 steps in the course of my work. The total of my steps for the past nine months is a little over 3,250,000 steps! I should hit 4 million by the end of the first year of the challenge. Sensible walking shoes are a must!

A few weeks ago I got an interesting and at least mildly disturbing e-mail with pictures of some current and past shoe fashion rages in Japan.

Think your shoes are uncomfortable? Look at the latest (out)rage in shoes in Japan....

Japanese red high heels

Japanese black shoes

Japanese black shoes

Japanese black high heels

Japanese red boots

Japanese black sparkly shoes

Japanese black horse shoes

Feel better now about your shoes? How would you like sensible walking shoes like those?

Uncomfortable shoes seem to be a tradition in the Orient. Look at the kinds of shoes that were worn back in the day of the Chinese women who practiced foot binding....

hard to walk

Advanced age does not seem to be the only reason for her difficulty in walking.

hard to walk

This woman was apparently one of those who practiced foot binding.

coming unwrapped

Like many people, you may think your feet are ugly. You might not any longer after you see the next few pictures! Here's the woman's unwrapped foot from one angle....


Here's the foot from another angle....

what it looks like

Here's a close up...


Unbelievable, huh!?

Still think your feet are ugly? Here are a few more pictures that may convince you otherwise....

The heels of time (Time wounds all heels?)...

the heels of time

Time for a pedicure?

maybe a pedicure would be in order

Feel better now about your feet? Ugly feet aren't found only in Asia, huh?


house wren update...

It appears that the eggs have now hatched. They're at that oxymoronic stage - pretty ugly! Here's a picture I took this evening....

the baby house wrens

Want to have beautiful feet? Read on to find out how....


"How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!" Romans 10:15

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If your nose runs and your feet smell, maybe you're built umop-apisdn.


I found some great pictures recently that show blooper type errors.

Detals! Detals!


Here are several road signs that are great bloopers....

not a through toad

people might stop to look

I'm surprised they let the baggage on board!

the baggage was x-rayed

I wonder if English is this woman's official language....

the offical language

Now on to the sampling of the bulletin bloopers....

Actual announcements taken from church bulletins:

The Pastor would appreciate it if the ladies of the congregation would lend him their electric girdles for the pancake breakfast next Sunday morning.

Irving Benson and Jessie Carter were married on October 24 in the church. So ends a friendship that began in their school days.

Ladies don't forget the rummage sale at - this is a good chance to get rid of things not worth keeping. Bring your husbands.

Please place your donation in the envelope along with the deceased person(s) you want remembered.

A new loudspeaker system has been installed in the church. It was given by one of our members in honor of his wife.

The peacemaking meeting scheduled for today has been cancelled due to a conflict.

The church will host an evening of fine dining, superb entertainment, and gracious hostility.

Weight Watchers will meet a 7 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church. Please use large double door at the side entrance.

Next Thursday, there will be tryouts for the choir. They need all the help they can get.

Congratulations to Tim and Rhonda on the birth of their daughter October 12 thru 17.

Diana and Don request your presents at their wedding.

The activity will take place on the church barking lot.

Please welcome Pastor Don, a caring individual who loves hurting people.


"If it doesn't produce a change, it's not the gospel." - Dr. Drew Conley

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Live your life in such a way that your colleagues, friends and family can defend you - but never have to.

Unusual Vehicles

I've had a blog post about unusual vehicles and unusual vehicular situations simmering for a while. When we got the pictures today, I moved the post to the front burner to serve up now.

Here are some pictures of unique vehicles. For those who haven't seen what the famous smart car looks like (the car that is going to save the planet!), here's one in Germany....

a smart car in Germany

The other extreme is a stretch Hummer...

a stretch Hummer

And here's a stretch motorcycle...

a stretch motorcycle

Here's what seems like the perfect car for most politicians...

politicians can now go both ways behind the wheel

Here's a great vehicle for seniors in retirement communities...

perfect vehicle for seniors

Now for some creative uses of vehicles....

You don't need a truck to haul big loads...

you too can haul loads

Many are opting for motorcycles since gas prices are so high. Try to find the third passenger below...

try to find the small child

It's a shame to see passenger space wasted as it is in the picture below (empty seat at the end of the yellow arrow)...

wasted passenger space

Some wealthy people still opt for large cars with chauffeurs. I strongly suspect that this picture has been Photoshopped....

surely this is Photoshopped

If People Bought Cars Like They Buy Computers...

Automotive companies don't have help lines for people who don't know how to drive, because people don't buy cars like they buy computers. But what if they did?

HelpLine: "Automotive HelpLine, how can I help you?"

Customer: "I got in my car and closed the door and nothing happened"

HelpLine: "Did you put the key in the ignition slot and turn it?"

Customer: "What's an ignition?"

HelpLine: "It's a starter motor that draws current from your battery and turns over the engine."

Customer: "Ignition? Motor? Battery? Engine? How come I have to know all these technical terms just to use my car?"


HelpLine: "Automotive HelpLine, how can I help you?"

Customer: "My car ran fine for a week and now it won't go anywhere"

HelpLine: "Is the gas tank empty?"

Customer: "Huh? How do I know?"

HelpLine: "There's a little gauge on the front panel with a needle and markings from 'E' to 'F'. Where is the needle pointing?"

Customer: "It's pointing to 'E'. What does that mean?"

HelpLine: "It means you have to visit a gasoline vendor and purchase some more gasoline. You can install it yourself or pay the vendor to install it for you."

Customer: "What? I paid $12,000 for this car! Now you tell me that I have to keep buying more components? I want a car that comes with everything built in!"


HelpLine: "Automotive HelpLine, how can I help you?"

Customer: "Hi, I just bought my first car, and I chose your car because it has automatic transmission, cruise control, power steering, power brakes and power door locks."

HelpLine: "Thanks for buying our car. How can I help you?"

Customer: "How do I work it?"

HelpLine: "Do you know how to drive?"

Customer: "Do I know how to what?"

HelpLine: "Do you know how to drive?"

Customer: "I'm not a technical person, I just want to go places in my car!"


I thought of what I posted today when we got some cute pictures today by e-mail. Our daughter Megan and son-in-law Jim have been looking for a pick-up truck for our grandson Drew for a while. They were able to get one for a good price on e-Bay. Here's a picture of our little trucker...

Drew in his pick-up truck


"Revival is obedience." - Dr. Les Olila

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Q: What goes clip, clop, clip, clop **bang-bang** clip, clop, clip, clop?
A: An Amish drive-by shooting.

It’s for the Birds!

house wren update...

There are now six eggs in the house wren nest in our bird house. That number has not changed since Saturday, and so I think the female is done laying eggs. Here's a picture of the six little tan eggs....

six little wren eggs

I found a picture online of a house wren....

house wren

One great thing is to hear the wrens singing at all hours of the day. If you'd like to hear the song of a house wren, click here.

I realize that some people who read my blog are not bird enthusiasts, but there are probably as many readers who are bird enthusiasts. You non-enthusiasts can scroll on down to today's iv....

Here's a picture of our bird house - the prime real estate in our subdivision! The lid is on hinges, allowing me to take the pictures I post on my blog.

our bird house that sits in our red raspberry patch

Below is a picture of the bay window in our kitchen. If you look carefully, you can see the hummingbird feeder on the left, the bird feeder in the middle, and the bird house off in the distance.

the window where we watch birds

Here's a picture from the outside....

our birdfeeders

Here's a close-up of the main bird feeder....

our main bird feeder

After squirrels have destroyed two "squirrel-proof" feeders from Lowe's, I decided that we should just spring for the top-of-the-line "Eliminator Squirrel Proof Birdfeeder" from Wild Birds Unlimited. Since it comes with a lifetime guarantee, at the rate we were going, this one will pay for itself in no time.

A former student who lives in Tennessee has sent me several pictures that he's taken recently of some woodpeckers nesting in a dead tree. He's been looking for this nest for over a month. He said the nests are easier to find once the red heads start poking out.

Here's a picture of two babies being fed through the hole in the tree...

two woodpecker babies

He wrote today to say that the last baby fledged. Here's a picture right before the last baby left the nest....

the last woodpecker to fledge

He said that in the same tree, a different type of woodpecker is nesting at the top. He went on to say, "There was a lot of drumming going on in that tree. Each variety of woodpecker has a different rythym. It seemed to be an annoyance to one variety when the other one was pecking."

Here's a picture of the other woodpecker nesting in the same tree....

another kind of woodpecker nesting in the same tree

Last week another reader sent me a link to a neat story about a very smart parrot. You can read it by clicking here.

There are all sorts of things that people say are "for the birds." One of those things that some would say is for the birds is housecleaning. The piece below even mentions birds in the first item....

Philosophy Of Housecleaning
author - an unknown, but witty woman

1. I don't do windows because ... I love birds and wouldn't want one to run into a clean window and get hurt. (I am compassionate.)

2. I don't wax floors because ... I am terrified that guests will slip, hurt themselves, and then I'll feel terrible - and they may sue me! (I am careful and poor.)

3. I don't mind the dust bunnies because ... they are very good company, I have named most of them, and they agree with everything I say. (I am imaginative.)

4. I don't disturb cobwebs because ... I want all creatures to have a home of their own, and my family loves spiders. (I am kind.)

5. I don't do "Spring Cleaning" because ... I love all the seasons and don't want the others to get jealous. (I am fair minded.)

6. I don't do yard work because ... I don't want to get in God's way - He is an excellent designer. (I am courteous.)

7. I don't put things away because ... my family will never be able to find them again. (I am considerate.)

8. I don't do gourmet meals when I entertain because .... I don't want my guests to stress out over what to make when they invite me over for dinner. (I am thoughtful of others' fears.)

9. I don't iron because ... I choose to believe them when they say "Permanent Press". (I am trusting.)

10. I don't stress much over anything because ... "Type A" personalities die young, and I want to stick around and become a wrinkled up crusty ol' woman!!! (I am very practical.)


This is Rob again ... several bits of irony in our own lives - just this evening while I was watering flowers out front, I hear a huge thud on the neighbor's house. When I looked over, I saw a brown thrasher falling to the ground below the neighbor's big picture window. The poor bird's neck was broken and it died. The irony is that the window is not very clean. Another irony is that in our house, we think that spiders are for the birds! I just killed two black widow spiders in our attached garage when I was sweeping it out this past Saturday! YIKES! I had killed another one a few weeks ago. Being very glad that those black widow spiders are now dead, I do not think that housecleaning is for the birds! How about you? :-)


"You cannot keep a bird from landing on your head, but you can keep it from building a nest there!" - Dr. Bob Jones Sr.

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When your pet bird sees you reading the newspaper, does he wonder why you're just sitting there, staring at carpeting?