(Derived with permission from “What Teachers Make” a poem written by Taylor Mali. To see Mr. Mali’s original version visit www.taylormali.com)
The topic of education came up and a business executive proclaimed the problem is with teachers, after all, “those who can do, and those who can’t teach.” A man next to him said, “I’m a teacher and you don’t know what you are talking about.”
So the businessman leaned into the teacher and said, “Be honest, what do you make?”
The teacher’s face got red and he said, “I suppose you’re thinking of money, I don’t earn much but let me tell you what I make.”
I make children read, think, write, wonder, andtalk about important things — such as the world and their role in it.
I make them try things they think they can’t do, work harder than they want to and accomplish more than they thought possible, and, whenever they do their best, I make them feel proud, capable and worthy.
I make them understand that the quality of their life will be determined by their choices, and I make them take responsibility for their actions.
I make them appreciate the importance of integrity and honor in a world that too often shows little regard for either.
I make them respect themselves and treat others with respect.
I make them feel proud and grateful to live in America where people are entitled to be treated fairly and with respect and are judged by their accomplishments and character, not by their color, creed, or the size of their bank account.
Most of all, I make a difference. I don’t just make a living, I make lives