What Teacher's Make

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When I was in college, I had days that were hard.  Now that I’m back in college, I feel I have more of that ahead.  My first time around I went to be a High School Agriculture Teacher.  Maybe not the same as a grade school teacher but still I had the power to make kids wonder and learn and question.  My dad sent this email to me one day my Freshman year and I printed it out and taped it to the wall next to my computer.  Any hard days I faced, I made sure to read this to myself.  In fact the next 3 years, everywhere I lived I made sure to take this to the wall next to my computer.  So I thought I would share to you what got me through my first 4 years of college.  Now I hope I can find something just as profound to get me through again.


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

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

“You want to know what I make?”

“I make a difference.”

“And you? What do you make?”

And because I like pictures,  Here are some photos of me my first 4 years of college.  Looks wise, I really haven’t changed except my hair is shorter and I’m about 15-20lbs heavier.

Sorry, right now I can’t seem to find many actual school pictures, but these were all college aged photos.  The first was when I studied abroad in Costa Rica,  the second was in 2002 while I was home one weekend and my dad’s mare had a baby, and the third is the summer of 2002 when I babysat for a lady who worked with my mom.  Good times, Good times. 🙂

Today I start school again, what ever possessed me to do this??!!??!!

Wish me luck!

0 thoughts on “What Teacher's Make

  1. Good for you!! That's great – this is a really wonderful story, I'm going to pass it on to a few teacher friends.

  2. Love that poem! Since I'm married to a teacher it hit home.. Teachers choose to teach because they love it and they want to connect with kids and make a difference.. it's definitely not the paycheck, but let me tell you.. my husband has received the sweetest emails and notes from students and parents about how he's made a positive impact on that child, and it's enough to make your heart break with happiness. 🙂 best of luck to you!!!

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