What Do Teachers Make?


This year, during Thanksgiving dinner, my family began what I hope will be a family tradition for many years to come. I’m sure many families already partake in a similar ritual and it’s played out many times on Thanksgiving episodes of television shows. What we did was very simple….we each took turns sharing specifically what it was that we were thankful for. One at a time, we spoke up, without the aid of notes or technology, without prior warning or preparation, without fear of reprisal or criticism. Grandparents, children, cousins, and friends – one by one each of us spoke while the rest listened. An occasional “l’chaim” or clinking of glasses, but the moment belonged to the one holding, for those few minutes, the attention of those sitting around the table.

So, what were we thankful for? Good health, the love of family and friends, being able to spend time with the ones we love. I was most thankful for having my children sitting beside me. Later, I began to think not just of what I was thankful for today, but of the life events that brought us all together to the table that evening. I focused on my children; the youngest starting her trek as a college freshman, and my first-born beginning an even longer journey through graduate school.  I remember like it was yesterday when they first began to read books to ME before bedtime, when they discovered that multiplication was really just addition on steroids, when the science homework became much too complicated for me to assist. And it dawned on me that there was an entire group of people still left to thank.

I could take some credit for providing the books, the study space, and what I believed to be their inherited drive to always strive for their best. But what about their content knowledge, the creativity in their presentations, and the ideas that inspired them to forge ahead? Well, I believe that much of that credit goes to the teachers who touched their lives in the past and continue to do so in the present.

And so, I would like to extend my “thanks” and gratitude to all teachers – teachers who make a difference every day, teachers who make this profession their life calling, teachers who make students reach for the stars. And for those who may question why someone would become a teacher or what teachers “make”, I share this amazing video performance by the renowned Slam Poet, Taylor Mali.

For more information about Mr. Mali’s book and ways in which teachers make a difference, simply click on the link to the right.


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