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
2 teach is
2 touch lives
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