It’s been a long time now since Kris taught high school. Back then I used to joke that her students muttered behind her back, “Ms. Gates is such a bitch.” The truth is I was proud of her. She did a damn fine job, and I could tell.

A few months ago I took a phone call at Custom Box Service form a young man in Chicago. We got to talking, and it turns out he grew up in Canby, and graduated from high school during the late 1990s. “Oh,” I said. “Did you have Ms. Gates for chemistry or physics?”

“Yes,” he said.

“She’s my wife,” I said. “I’m her husband.”

He went from business-like to gushing in the space of a breath. “Omigosh,” he said. “Ms. Gates was awesome. She was the best teacher I ever had.” He raved about her, as do all of her students when I encounter them in real-life.

This video reminds me of Kris and her years as a teacher:

It also reminds me of a certain band teacher I know.

4 Replies to “What Do Teachers Really Make?”

  1. Denise says:

    Teachers are our Country’s most under-rated and under-paid resource. That was a great clip. Thanks for posting it.

  2. jenefer says:

    I don’t think good and great teachers are under-rated. They are well rated by the people who know, their students and parents of those students. Are they underpaid? The good ones are! Is there a way to appropriately compensate the good ones? I think the current system of lumping all teachers without specifiying their quality or impact will never allow the good ones to be adequately compensated. As always, the compensation for a good teacher is in knowing that they made/are making an impact on people’s lives.

  3. Paul J. says:

    I like this clip. I’m trying to figure out the context and audience. I can’t imagine that it’s for a teacher inservice (too edgy and confrontational) but I would love to have this guy come a “speak” at the next Portland Public Schools district-wide inservice (never happen) especially with the ending as it is.

  4. AdamD says:

    It looks like a spoken word or slam poetry event. Apparently this guy is the tops in that arena.

    He has a website:

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