The dinner guests were sitting around the table discussing life. One man, a CEO proud of being a professional, decided to explain what was wrong 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 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, Vidya. Be honest. What do you make?”
Vidya, who had a reputation for honesty and frankness replied, “You want to know what I make?” She paused for a second, then began…
“Well, I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could.
I make a C+ student feel like he’s won the Padma Shri.
I make kids sit through 40 minutes of class time when their parents can’t make them sit for five minutes without an I-Pod, mobile phone or TV.”
Vidya paused again and looked at each and every person at the table.
“You want to know what I make?
I make kids wonder.
I make them question.
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. Keyboarding and texting isn’t everything.
I make them read, read, read – that too real books.
I make them show all their work in maths. They use their God-given brains, not man-made calculators.
I make my students from all states learn everything they need to know in English, while preserving their unique cultural identity.
I make my classroom a place where all my students feel safe.
I make my students stand and sing our National Anthem with pride in their hearts, because we are all citizens of India.
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.”
Vidya paused one last time and then continued…
“Then, when people try to judge me by what I make, with me knowing money isn’t everything, I can hold my head up high and pay no attention because they are ignorant!
You want to know what I make?
I MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
And what do you make, Mr. CEO?”
His mouth was shut tight and his eyes were lowered – the only answer he had was a deafening silence…