What Teachers Make – by Taylor Mali

As it’s getting close to the end of yet another school year it can be hard to draw on the excitement found back in August. For most, standardized testing is in progress or just wrapping up and the administration is already busily handing out mountains of forms for next year. With this in mind, today’s soapbox is an inspirational video from a few years back by Taylor Mali, a teacher, and poet, who has been speaking for many years on the importance of educators and even has a personal goal of creating 1,000 teachers by his inspiring poems.

Attention: This video, albeit awesome, contains some language and actions that aren’t for the kiddos.

I’ve seen comments on various posts and blogs saying how horrible it is that Mali calls himself a teacher after flying the Bronx salute, but really I think it’s horrible that we call some people teachers who aren’t as impassioned and verbal about what they do. Luckily, those making the negative comments are in the vocal minority, but it still brings up an interesting point. After watching the video the first time I was taken aback by the fact that it would end like that and I wasn’t sure if it was amazing or offensive. Had I seen this video when it first came out in 2006 I would have been shouting it atop the crests of Old Faithful while riding a surfboard made from buffalo fur. (Those were wild days…) It makes me wonder if those of us in education sometimes blur morality modeling to the point we become more reserved, or if reserving opinions is simply a function of wanting to keep our jobs. I wasn’t going to post this video for fear of backlash until I received a message from my wife. It was simple, yet empowering, and I’m not entirely sure she knew that such a simple message would lead to a resonance cascade in my mind. After seeing the video her message was a simple “I like it :-D ” and the thought stuck. After all, I like the video too, and I have a website where I post things that I like that are related to education.

So there you have it. If you somehow managed to make it this far into the post I have two things to say and a picture to show you. First, you’re awesome for making it this far and get the Apples for Geeks gold star for listening to others (or read as the case may be). Second, if you read all of that, it’s come to my attention that you may, in fact, have time to take up a hobby like knitting, skiing, or whale hunting…just letting you know. Finally, there’s this…

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