The Teacher and A CEO: What Do YOU Make?

This touching story was forwarded to me by Mr. Khalid Jehangir of The Lyceum School. A Big Thank You to him.

I was just informed by Mr Rehan Vastani that the following has been taken from a Taylor Mali poem ( with the title “What Teachers Make”. Thanks Mr Mali for this wonderful gift!

I quote:

The dinner guests were sitting around the table discussing life.

One man, a CEO, decided to explain the problem 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?”

To stress his point he said to another guest; “You’re a teacher, Barbara. Be honest. What do you make?”

Barbara, who had a reputation for honesty and frankness replied, “You want to know what I make? (She paused for a second, and then began…)

“Well, I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could.

I make a C+ feel like the Congressional Medal of Honor winner.

I make kids sit through 40 minutes of class time when their parents CAN’T make them sit for 5 without an I Pod, Game Cube or movie rental.

You want to know what I make? (She paused again and looked at each and every person at the table)

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 ISN’T EVERYTHING.

I make them read, read, read.

I make them show all their work in maths. They use their God given brain, not the man-made calculator.

I make my students from other countries learn everything they need to know about English while preserving their unique cultural identity.

I make my classroom a place where all my students feel safe.

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 (Barbara
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?


What do you make Mr. CEO?

His jaw dropped, he went silent.


Even all your personal teachers like mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, coaches, and others.

A profound answer!


Point to ponder: Are YOU making a difference?

Dare to dream.

Follow your dreams.

Make a difference.

Leave a legacy.

Have a remarkable life.


Photo courtesy:

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  • Altaf Boghani

    Sorry not to follow the herd and emotional mentality, this would have been great if it was not achieved by pitting one job against the other. A CEO of pharmaceutical company would have responded this way :
    I make product that provide livelihood to millions of families so they can send kids to school and provide a teacher with livelihood

    I make miracles that cure cancer in kids so that they can go to school and live normal lives

    I make artificial limbs for people so they can walk again

    I provide scholarships to kids so they can get the best education in the world

    I provide opportunities to employees who wants to grow and be successful

    • Dear Altaf,
      Amazing thoughts.
      Entirely agree.
      Maybe the reason this was narrated in this particular way was the dearth of good natured, kind-hearted, hard working teachers, who would take time out to nurture & develop the students beyond the realm of books & curriculum.
      Thanks for the comment.
      Stay blessed.

  • Rehan Vastani

    I really appreciate this story, but it seems like it’s taken straight from a Taylor Mali poem, titled “What Teachers Make:” . I’m not sure if that was the intention, but I didn’t see his name anywhere here.

    • Dear Rehan,
      First of all, thanks for going through the post.
      Secondly, you just added to my knowledge for which I thank you. I will add the name of Taylor Mali on the post, so people should know the source.
      I believe you are a teacher.
      Keep inspiring.
      Keep making a difference in people’s lives.
      Stay blessed.

  • and you are a ceo a great guru a best teacher all in one 🙂

    • Thanks Shaheen for your kind comments.
      We all try to do whatever we can…
      Stay blessed…

  • Great stuff and i want you as a teacher and also as a CEO.

  • Prashant Savla

    For me the most befitting comment is: “We need teachers like Barbra (disciplined, realizing caring, coaching the real “Gurus”) to make CEOs like Nuruddin Abjani (Multi Talented, Successful yet humble and modest enough to post something like this)”

    • Thanks for your kind words. Prashant. 

      Everyone tries to make a difference. I am doing my part. 

      God bless you. 


  • Aman Zaidi

    Awesome stuff Mr. Abjani! Great read, thanks for sharing.

    Good to make your e-cquaintance!

    • Thanks and God bless you, Aman. 

      God bless you.


  • Leszek Cyfer

    I told you before – I believe that you make difference.

    And you’re CEO too 🙂

    • Thanks, Leszek. Means a lot to me.

      God bless you.


    • 🙂

      You are too kind. Thanks and God bless you. Nuruddin 

      • It’s funny that automatic email with your response went straight to spam in my gmail account, and there was warning to not click on any links for danger of phishing etc.

        I guess it was caused by use of shortened links in the email – I suppose that normal links would not have such effect. Perhaps you will consider changing the autoresponder settings on your blog.

        With regards

  • Tasneemkanchh

    hey…you have twisted my hand to contine my job
    i never thought teaching is my cup of tea,few months ago i was force to teach in a school for couple of i started teaching but every single day i was planning to quit it.
    n now after reading your passage i feel like continuing my job. 🙂

    • Tasneem,

      I am so happy to hear that!

      Keep up the great work and please try and share this with others.

      Share it with other teachers who could be feeling like you did and this could help them feel differently about teaching.

      God bless you.


  • Anonymous

    I’ll agree with making a difference! life is all about making a difference

  • Amir Morani

    Very nice posting. Thanks a lot.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks Amir.

      God bless you.


  • Alam Unjum

    Hi Mr. Nurudin Abjani

    Thanks for sharing such a nice post. I will definitely going to refer this quote on my upcoming session on motivating young teachers, and make them realize the importance of teachers for the society.

    Alam Anjum

    • Anonymous

      That would be awesome, Alam. Please do, they need the motivation.

      God bless you,