Teachers hand down real life values to students

Collateral Damage
August 7, 2012
Gibson 6th grader tapped to attend 2013 inauguration
August 7, 2012
Collateral Damage
August 7, 2012
Gibson 6th grader tapped to attend 2013 inauguration
August 7, 2012

School has started or is about to start for most of our young students. One of the most difficult jobs is that of being a good teacher. Often teachers are not appreciated for the tremendous tasks they do.

People sometimes accuse teachers of being lazy and blame them for low test scores and the decline in the nation’s educational standing.

Taylor Mali is a former teacher who had an unfortunate encounter with an obnoxious lawyer at a dinner party.

Mali said, “He insulted me and the entire teaching profession by saying that anyone who wanted to be a teacher essentially didn’t have the intellectual capacity.

“He asked me what my annual salary was and I probably looked down at my shoes and said $27,500.”

Two weeks later, Mali wrote what he had wished he had been witty enough to deliver that night.

The following is an adapted version of his defense of the teaching profession.

“The dinner guests were sitting around the table discussing various issues of the day. A lawyer 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 reminds the other dinner guests that it’s true what they say about teachers: Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.

“I decided to bite my tongue and resist the temptation to remind the dinner guests that it’s also true what they say about lawyers. We were all eating, after all, and this was polite conversation.

“The lawyer continued, ‘I mean, you’re a teacher, Taylor. Be honest. What do you make?’

“I wish he hadn’t said, ‘Be honest.’ I have this policy about honesty: if you ask for it, then I have to let you have it. You want to know what I make? I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could. I can make a C-plus feel like a Congressional Medal of Honor and an A-minus 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 40 minutes of study hall in absolute silence. ‘No, you may not work in groups.’ ‘No, you may not ask 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: ‘Hi. This is Mr. Mali. I hope I haven’t called at a bad time: I just wanted to talk to you about something your son said today.

“To the biggest bully in the grade, he said, ‘Leave the kid alone. I still cry sometimes, don’t you? It’s no big deal.’ And that was the noblest act of courage I have ever seen. I make parents see their children for who they are and what 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. I make them read, read, read. I make them discover true values in life. I make them responsible. I make them achieve. I make them capable. I make them into leaders.

“I make them understand that if you use your brains and follow your heart, you don’t have to pay attention to anyone who would judge you by how much money you make. God wants everyone to be the best-person they could possibly be.

“The Almighty is not interested in how much money a person makes but how loving they become.

“Here, let me break it down for you: Teachers make a tremendous difference! Now what about you?”

Have a great school year!