as heard on The Good Stuff with Jim Thompson


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 what they say about teachers: "Those who can,
do. Those who can't, teach." To stress his point he said
to another guest; "You're a teacher, Bonnie. Be honest.
What do you make?" Bonnie, who had a reputation for
honesty and frankness replied, "You want to know what
I make? (She paused for a second, then began...) "Well,
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 5 without
an I Pod, Game Cube, or movie rental... You want to know
what I make?" (She paused again and looked at each and
every person at the table.) I make kids wonder. I make
them question. I make them criticize. 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. I make them read, read, read.
I make them show all their work in math. 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 to say the
Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag, because we live in the
United States of America. Finally, I make them
understand that if they use the gifts they were given,
work hard, and follow their hearts, they can succeed in
life. (Bonnie paused one last time and then continued.)
"Then, when people try to judge me by what I make, I
can hold my head up high and pay no attention because
they are ignorant... You want to know what I make?
I MAKE A DIFFERENCE. What do you make?"