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, Barbara. Be honest. What do you make?”
Barbara, who had a reputation for honesty and frankness replied, “You want to know what I make? (She paused for a second, then began…)
“Well, I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could. I make a C+ feel like the Congressional Medal of Honor winner. I make kids sit through 40 minutes of class time when their parents can’t make them sit for 5 without an I Pod, Game Cube or movie rental.
You 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 apologize and mean it.
I make them have respect and take responsibility for their actions.
I teach them to write and then I make them write.
I make them read, read, read.
I make them show all their work in math.
They use their brain, not the calculator.
I make my students from other countries learn everything they need to know about English while preserving their unique cultural identity.
I make my classroom a place where all my students feel safe.
Finally, I make them understand that if they use the gifts they were given, work hard, and follow their hearts, they can succeed in life. (Barbara paused one last time and then continued.)
Then, when people try to judge me by what I make, with me knowing money isn’t everything, I can hold my head up high and pay no attention because they are ignorant.
You want to know what I make?
I MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
What do you make Mr. CEO?
His jaw dropped, he went silent.
This is from my dear friend, Lisa, who is a teacher who trains teachers. But I’m not sure where she got it, so we’ll call it “unsourced web story.” Let me know if you’re aware of a source. And I want to dedicate this quote to all the amazing teachers at Hawthorne Elementary & Franklin Middle Schools. You know who you are. You DO make a difference. And we notice. Thank you.
The name of the poet is Taylor Mali.