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?”
To stress his point, he said to another guest: “You’re a teacher, Susan. Be honest. What do you make?”
Susan, who had a reputation of honesty and frankness, replied, “You want to know what I make?”
She paused for a second, then began.
“I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could. I can make a C+ feel like the Congressional 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 make kids sit through 40 minutes of class time when their parents can’t make them sit for five minutes without an ipad or movie rental. Do you really want to know what I make?”
She paused again, and looked at each and every person at the table.
“I make kids wonder.
I make them question.
I make them criticize.
I make them apologize and mean it.
I make them write.
I make them read, read, read.
I make them show all their work in math and hide it all on their final drafts in English.
I elevate them to 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.
By the way, what do you make?
Credit: What Teachers Make, a poem by Taylor Mali.