Our Schools, Our Kids, Our Future
Dedicated to Those Who Have Devoted Lives to Education . . . This article has floated around social media several times now and has been sent to me by fellow educators. I recently saw it again and was reminded how much I hold in esteem those who devote their lives to education. We should all think about this article as we send our children to school, enter into the classrooms, or live out in the community:
The dinner guests were sitting around the table discussing life. One man, a haughty CEO decided to explain the problem with education. He argued, “What’s a kid going to learn from someone who has 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, Bonnie,” he said, “Be honest. What do you make?”
Bonnie, who had a reputation of honesty and frankness, replied, “You want to know what I make? (She paused for a second, then began…) I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could. I can make a C+ feel like the 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 class time when their parents can’t make them sit for 5 without an iPod, Game Cube or a movie rental. I can make parents tremble with fear or jump with joy when I call home.”
She paused again and looked at each and every person at the table. “You want to know what I make? I make kids wonder. I make them question. I make them apologize and mean it. I make them have respect and responsibility for their actions. I teach them to write and then I make them write. I make them read, read, read. I make them spell ‘definitely’ and ‘beautiful’ over and over again until they will never misspell either one of those words again. I make them show all their work in math. They use their God given brains, not just the manmade calculator. I make my students from other countries learn everything they need to know about 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 elevate them to experience music and art and the joy in performance, so their lives are rich, full of kindness and culture, and they take pride in themselves and their accomplishments. Finally, I make them understand that if they use the gifts they were given, work hard and follow their hearts, then they can succeed in life.
Bonnie paused one last time and then continued. “Then when people try to judge me by what I make, with me knowing money isn’t everything, I can hold my head up high and pay no attention because they are ignorant. You know what I make? I make a difference. What do you make?”
His jaw dropped and he went silent.
As we applaud Bonnie for sticking it to the CEO, let us be cognizant that not just anyone can be an educator. It is a calling, and for all of those who have answered the calling, “Bless you!” Remember that teachers make a difference, not only in the lives of our young people, but they make a difference that is handed down for generations to come. No other occupation in the world has a greater impact on our children and our future.
Let’s have a great school year by working with our teachers to make a difference!