LETTER: Teachers make difference; what do you make?

To the editor:

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 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. What do you make?”

Bonnie replied: “You want to know what I make? Well, I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could. I make a C-plus student feel like the Congressional Medal of Honor winner. I make kids sit through 40 minutes of class time when their parents can’t make them sit for five minutes without an iPad, game cube or movie rental.

“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 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 them 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.

“You want to know what I make? I make a difference. What do you make?”

Those who can teach, teach. Those who can’t, engage in some less significant profession.

Herbert Grover, Gresham