On Tuesday, I was talking about a version of the myth “Persephone” my students read with me in class. For some reason, one of them had a mental misfiring and compared me to LA Lakers player Kobe Bryant. I have no personal opinion of Mr. Bryant and am sorry he has to endure rotator cufff surgery. Meanwhile, I whipped around and snapped, “Kobe Bryant? I may have a beautiful natural tan like Kobe Bryant, but I am not making $24 million and enduring surgery. Do you want to know what I make? I’ll tell you what I make.
“I make students sit down, and I make them stand up. I make them read books they don’t want to read. I make them write. I make them say, ‘Yes, ma’am.’ and ‘No, ma’am.’ I make them think. I make doctors, lawyers, bankers, dancers, and future teachers. I teach.” It was dead silent in that room. Their eyes were saucers because they saw the gleam in my eye. When I told my husband and son later that evening, they replied that when I get that look, the best response for survival is “Yes, ma’am.” They were right. Thank you, Taylor Mali, for giving me some apt words to use as a gentle reminder that my chosen profession helps, guides, nurtures, and generates other professions in some way, shape, or fashion.