“A teacher affects eternity: he can never tell where his influence stops.” Henry Adams
I was watching an NFL game last weekend and was really impressed by a PSA featuring a player talking about how a certain teacher in his life influenced him. It was all part of a campaign in support of America’s teachers…most of whom hopefully have today off for Columbus Day! Like that NFL player, I bet you could quickly and easily name a special teacher in your life. I can remember like it was yesterday learning that I’d gotten Mrs. Winston for fourth grade. It was as if I’d won the lottery!
I guess you could say I’m a teacher in that I teach three-year-olds at my church’s preschool, but I’m not a certified or degreed teacher. Still, today’s society demands that I not only love and nurture my students, but that I start making them Kindergarten ready by age 4. Watching the recent debates made me realize that education in America is at a cross-roads. How is it that my three-year-olds are being taught letter sounds but many of today’s elementary kids are only just beginning these lessons? Education, like life, is often unfair.
I consider “real” teachers true heroes in our country…those in it for the right reasons that is. They essentially have our country’s future in their hands and in their classrooms. Those teaching in America’s inner cities and underprivileged schools, even more so. I always respected Ms. Vanessa, Kristen’s former riding instructor. “V” is funny, loving, and boasts brilliant horsemanship. Vanessa is also a high school English teacher and for many years chose to teach in an underprivileged school. I remember asking her one day why she didn’t transfer to a more wealthy school and she essentially said because she knew she was making a real difference in her students’ lives. It all reminded me of a story I once heard called “What Teachers Make.” I thought I’d share it with you in salute of those who are changing our children’s lives.
“What Teachers Make”
The dinner guests were sitting around the table discussing life. One man, a rich and cocky CEO, decided to explain the problem with our education system. He reminded the dinner guests of the old saying, “Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach.” He then turned to a guest who was a teacher and asked, “You’re a teacher. Be honest. What do you make?”
Having the reputation for honesty and frankness, she replied, “You want to know what I make? Here’s what I make:”
I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could.
I make a C+ feel like a winner of the Congressional Medal of Honor.
I make kids sit through 40 minutes of study hall in absolute silence.
I make kids wonder.
I make them question things.
I make them criticize wrongs.
I make them apologize and mean it.
I make them write and I make them read.
I make them show all their work in math and perfect their final drafts in English.
I make them understand that if you have the brains and follow your heart you can do anything and if someone ever tries to judge you by what you make, you must pay no attention because they just didn’t learn.”
I, MAKE A DIFFERENCE!
Remember, teachers make ever other profession possible.
What do YOU make? What do you teach?