I’M A TEACHER: I MAKE LIVES By Michael Josephson

(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

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  1. I am sorry, Michael. I failed to paste my full post. This is what I meant to send:

    Hello cousin. Thank you for the poem about teachers. It resonated with me because I am a teacher and a nurse. Nurses also have to here the kind of thing that the businessman in your story said. People tend to praise nurses in general (“angels of mercy,” which most of us hate) but directly, most people think of us as overpaid waitresses. One pithy observation I have heard is, “nurses know just enough to be dangerous.”

    Really?

    Anyway, it reminded me of something that another guy in nursing posted that I enjoyed enough to saver, and thought that you might enjoy. If so or not, be well.

    “I was having lunch with a small group of friends with whom I had worked years prior. Most of us had moved on to other things. Someone posed the question: “So…what interesting thing have you all done today?”

    One was wearing fashionably-torn jean, a $120 Tommy Bahama shirt and Birkenstocks. As the last one still in the computer software industry, he spoke up first: “I completed a revolutionary animation method that will put my company on the ‘map’!”

    The next was a hardware engineer. He described an improvement to PC design that would net tremendous performance increases for minimal cost; this would open up amazing technological potential for the masses.

    Another, dressed in a fine hand-tailored suit, “power tie” and shoes worth more than my car piped up: “I closed a deal with a new Asian market that will not only expand my company’s reach by 250%, but was the stroke I needed to be made the new Vice President of my division. Oh, and there’s a $350k salary that goes with it.”

    They all looked at me, sitting there in green scrubs, $65 white sneakers and my hospital ID with the dorky picture clipped to some trade show lanyard around my neck. They bugged their eyes out as they leaned toward me, trying to coax a laughable response out of me. I thought about the family that came into the ER that morning, especially the six-year-old girl knocked silly by her lack of a seat belt. I thought about the CPR I had performed. I said, “I brought a little girl back from the dead.”

    Yup, that is pretty much all we know how to do.

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  2. I celebrate teachers and admire those who are passionate about teaching, guiding, counseling, encouraging, motivating and caring those they teach.

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