What Teachers Make

Some western people believe that teaching is not a good choice of careers. Some even say that, ‘those who can, do; those who can’t, teach’ to express their belief that teaching is not a good career for ‘able’ people. Watch and listen to this short video to better understand the meaning of this expression and to learn one teacher’s very interesting response to a person who says it to him.


  • First, complete Task A before you watch the video clip

  • Second, watch the video clip (as many times as you want) and then finish Task B Parts 1 and 2.(refer to the audio script if needed).

  • For extended practice, do Tasks C.


Video ©DevlinPix.com


Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxsOVK4syxU

What Teachers Make  (Taylor Mali)

He says, ‘the problem with teachers is, what’s a kid gonna learn from someone who decided his best option in life is to become a teacher’ (laughter)

He reminds the dinner guests that, “It's true what they say about teachers, that ‘those who can do and those who can't, teach’”. (laughter)

I decide to bite my tongue instead of his, and resist the urge to remind the other dinner guests that it’s also true what they say about lawyers (laughter).

Because, we’re eating after all, and this is polite conversation (laughter).

‘I mean, you’re a teacher Taylor…be honest…what do you make?’

And I wish he hadn't done that. (laughter). Asks me to be honest! Because you see, I have a policy, about honesty and ass-kicking, which is: if you ask for it, then I have to let you have it.

(cheering and applause)

‘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 Honour and I can make an A- feel like a slap in the face. ‘How dare you waste my time with anything less than your very best.’

You want to know what I make? I make kids sit through 40 minutes of Study Hall in absolute silence. ‘You cannot work in groups. No you can’t 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, do you?’

You want to know what I make? I make parents tremble in fear when I call home at around dinner time, “Hi. This is Mr. Mali. I hope I haven’t called at bad time.  I just wanted to talk to you about something that your son did today. He said, ‘Leave the kid alone.’ I still cry sometimes, don’t you? And it was the noblest act of courage that I have ever seen’.”

I make parents see their children for who they are and who they can be.

You want to know what I make? I make kids 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 then hide it on their final drafts in English.

I make them realize that if you’ve got this, then you follow this. And if somebody tries to judge you, based on what you make, you give them this!

Let me break it down for you. Let me break it down for you, so you know what I say is true.

I make a goddamn difference. Now what about you?

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