At first glance, this little addendum to our discussions might seem off-topic. But, is it really, if all I am trying to convey is why
you...as a grandparent, or a parent, some other relative or just a
good, caring friend of ALL children...should not overlook the times you
may play a role in a young person's Life as a teacher.
The short conversation that is the basis of this discussion is a bit irreverent...maybe even brusque. It is written from the viewpoint of a
professional teacher, being asked "what he makes"...as in, "you middle
class tool", or, maybe, just being thought of in the context of the old
joke of teaching..."Those who CAN, do. Those who CAN'T, teach." Might
I suggest, in the terms of our children, and giving THEM the tools they
need to not only grow and prosper, but to survive, we should derive
from this conversation some of the inner satisfactions this teacher
derives from his occupation...(and in my case, I even like his
Here we go:
I mean, you’re a teacher, Taylor.
Be honest. What do you make?
And I wish he hadn’t done that
(asked me to be honest)
because, you see, I have a policy in my classroom
about honesty and ass-kicking:
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+ 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.
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, so put your hand down.
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 class, he said,
“Leave the kid alone. I still cry sometimes, don’t you?”
And it 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, write, write.
And then I make them read.
I make them spell definitely beautiful, definitely beautiful, definitely beautiful
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 if you’ve got this [brains],
then you follow this [heart],
and if someone ever tries to judge you
by what you make, you give them this [the finger].
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?
That's it. Get an idea where I think your mind should be going? Do you see the benefits to YOURSELF that may be harvested in the world of nature with your children and grandchildren?
LIFE. The natural world is nothing if not that. All of it, these "teachable moments"...death and dying, birth (even re-birth if that is
part of your belief system), nurturing, secrets and mysteries and magic
that is only made more so by some knowledge and insight to how each
child, indeed, ALL people, are a part of this infinite circle. More
importantly, how to be an active participant in Life, and protecting
and learning to use, not abuse, the bounties of our Earth to enhance
our lives as individuals and as an entire race...for NOW, and ALWAYS.
So, like the young teacher asked..."What about you?"
…for, lo, the eternal and sovereign luminous space,
where rule the unnumbered stars,
is the air we breathe in
and the air we breathe out.
And in the moment betwixt the breathing in
and the breathing out
is hidden all the mysteries
of the Infinite Garden
–Essene Gospel of Peace