What Teachers Make

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Think about your teachers: the ones you love, the ones you hate and everyone in between. Have you ever thought about the ones that stay until 6 p.m. to grade papers? The ones who come in early to conference with students? The ones who will not accept anything less than your best? It is about time students starting appreciating teachers and all of the work they put in to give us an education.

Taylor Mali sums this up perfectly in his poem titled, “What Teachers Make.” Mali said, “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 an A- feel like a slap in the face. How dare you waste my time with anything less than your very best.”

The infamous quote “those who can’t, teach,” I think, is wrong. Those who want to impact the future, teach. Teachers dedicate their time to making sure students are learning what will aid the future. They shape the new generation.

As a student, it is easy to blame teachers for bad grades and even easier to have animosity towards them because of it. Take responsibility. If you don’t like your grade, conference with your teachers and study harder. Teachers want you to succeed; they will help. I am sure you have heard all of this before, but it’s true. Take advantage of the services your teachers offer.

Mali, when asked what he makes as a teacher, replies with, “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 spell definitely beautiful, definitely beautiful, definitely beautiful over and over and over again until they will never misspell either one of those words again. I make them show all their work in math and hide it on their final drafts in English. I make them understand that if you’ve got this,then you follow this, and if someone ever tries to judge you by what you make, you give them this,”  and I think that is so important. Teachers are not given enough credit for the work they do for students and their school. Take time to thank your teachers for believing in you and pushing you to do your best.

Mali also states in his poem, “What Teachers Make” that “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 noblest act of courage I have ever seen. I make parents see their children for who they are and what they can be.” Teachers are not out to get you. They reprimand you for wrongdoings and it is easy to forget the praise: but it’s there.

Mali states “Here, let me break it down for you, so you know what I say is true: Teachers make a goddamn difference! Now what about you?”. Let this poem be a reminder to value your teachers. They deserve it.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the Parkway School District.

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