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Birmingham Bar Association Bulletin | Winter 2014

Human Interest Jennifer (Jennie) Pickett The Merriam-Webster dictionary defi nes “teacher” as “a person or thing that teaches something” or “one whose occupation it is to instruct.”1 That doesn’t really cut it though, does it? As lawyers, one of our job requirements is to teach or instruct - whether it be the court, another lawyer or our client. The teaching aspect of our profession, however, is often overlooked. I read an interesting e-mail not too long ago that re-energized the “teacher” in me: Who Is A Teacher? A doctor wants his child to become a doctor. An engineer wants his child to become an engineer. A businessman wants his child to become a CEO. BUT a teacher also wants his child to become one of those. Th e 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, Bonnie. Be honest, what do you make?” “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+ feel like the Congressional Medal of Honor. I make kids sit through 40 minutes of class time when their parents can’t make them sit for fi ve minutes without an Ipod, Game Cube or TV show. 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 how to write and then I make them write. I make them read, read, read. I make them show all their work in math. Th ey 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. 34 Birmingham Bar Association


Birmingham Bar Association Bulletin | Winter 2014
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