Today is the last day of school for the kids in Nassau County, Florida, I felt it only fitting to share this wonderful story my 89 year old grandmother sent to me that ponders the question, ‚ÄúWhat do teachers make?‚Äù
The dinner guests were sitting around the table discussing life. One man, a CEO, decided to explain the problem with education. He argued, ‚ÄúWhat’s a kid going to learn from someone who decided his best option in life was to become a teacher?‚Äù
He reminded the other dinner guests what they say about teachers, ‚ÄúThose who can, do. Those who can’t, teach.‚Äù To emphasize his point he turned to another guest and said, ‚ÄúYou’re a teacher, Bonnie. Be honest. What do you make?‚Äù
Bonnie, who had a reputation for honesty and frankness replied, ‚ÄúYou want to know what I make?‚Äù Pausing just for a second, she began. ‚ÄúWell, I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could. I make a C+ feel like the Congressional Medal of Honor.
I make kids sit through 40 minutes of class time when their parents can’t make them sit for five minutes without an i-Pod, Game Cube or movie rental and you want to know what I make?‚Äù She asked again looking 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. Keyboarding isn’t everything.
I make them read, read, read. I make them show all their work in math. They use their God-given brain, not the man-made calculator. I make my students from other countries learn everything they need to know in English while preserving their unique cultural identity. I make my classroom a place where all my students feel safe.
I make my students stand, placing their hand over their heart to say the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag, One Nation Under God, because we live in the United States of America. I make them understand that if they use the gifts they were given, work hard, and follow their hearts, they can succeed in life.‚Äù
Bonnie paused briefly and then closed with a quick summary. ‚ÄúPeople try to judge me by what I make. I know that money isn’t everything. I can hold my head up high and pay no attention because they are ignorant… Do you want to know what I make? I make a difference, Mr. CEO; what do you make?‚Äù
His jaw dropped and he went silent.