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May 2012


What Teachers Make


A poem 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 reminded the other dinner guests that it's true what they say about teachers: "Those who can...do.  Those who can't ... teach."

To corroborate, he said to another guest: "You're a teacher, Susan," he said. "Be honest. 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 a 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 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 criticize."

"I make them apologize and mean it."

"I make them write."

"I make them read, read, read."

"I make them spell definitely beautiful, definitely beautiful, and definitely beautiful over and 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 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."

"And you? What do you make?"
 

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