What teacher’s make indeed! If you want to get financially rich, then definitely don’t become a teacher. If you want to live a richly abundant life and assist others to do the same, then definitely become a teacher!
I have seen both sides of this fence and have come to believe that teaching is one of the noblest and gratifying of all professions… but that is just my humble opinion.
I sometimes ask myself, after a challenging day, why I teach? I teach because it is the hardest job I have ever done! Teaching challenges me every day… I believe that’s why I keep going back day after day and year after year. No one day is ever the same… it’s a lot like golf which I also love and will never master in this lifetime.
I have posted the YouTube video–What Teachers Make by Taylor Mali–and followed it up with the transcript.
Transcript of Taylor Mali’s What Teachers Make:
Taylor: This poem is called “What Teachers Make” or “Objection Overruled” or “If Things Don’t Work Out, You Can Always Go to Law School.”
Lawyer: He says, “The problem with teachers is, what’s a kid going to learn from someone who decided that his best option in life was to become a teacher?” [Laugh] He reminds the other dinner guests that it’s true what they say about teachers, “Those who can do and those who can’t teach.” [Laugh]
Taylor: I decide to bite my tongue, instead of his. And resist the urge to remind the other dinner guests that it’s also true what they say about lawyers… because we’re eating after all and this is supposed to be polite conversation.
Lawyer: “I mean you’re a teacher Taylor, come on, be honest, what do you make?”
Taylor: And I wish he hadn’t done that… asked me, to be honest. Because you see, I have this little policy in my classroom about honesty and ass-kicking… which is if you ask for it, then I have to let you have it.
Taylor: “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 I can make an A- feel like a slap in the face… how dare you waste my time with anything less than your very best.
“I make kids sit through forty minutes of study hall in absolute silence. No, you may not work in groups. No, you cannot ask me a question. Why won’t I let you go to the bathroom? Because you’re bored, and you don’t really have to go to the bathroom do you?
“I make parents tremble in fear when I call home at around dinner time. ‘Hi, this is Mr. Mali, hope I haven’t called at a bad time. I just wanted to talk to you about something that your son said today in class.’ To the biggest bully in the grade, he said, ‘Leave that kid alone. I still cry sometimes, don’t you?’ And that was the noblest act of courage that I have ever seen.
“I make parents see their children for who they are and who they can be.
“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, write, write.
“And then, I make them read.
“I make them spell definitely beautiful, definitely beautiful, define nightly b-e-a-utiful it until they will never misspell either one of those words again.
“I make them show all their work in math class and then hide it on their final drafts in English.
“I make them realize that if you’ve got this [pointing at his head], then you follow this [pointing at his heart] and if somebody ever tries to judge you based on what you make, you give them this [flips the bird finger].
“Here, let me break it down for you so that you know what I say is true. Teachers make a g-d difference, now what about you?”
Images – Post and Rich Snippets image: “THE-TEACHER” by Community Photography ‘now & then‘ is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0. Web 10 February 2014.
Video with transcript – Mali, T. (2008, August 14). “What Teachers Make,” by TAYLOR MALI. Retrieved February 10, 2014, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qArZMuqE4FY.