What do Teachers Make?

This is an inspiring video, and after watching it I couldn’t resist posting it here. It’s entertaining, but there is a good message about teachers and the impact they can have on their students.

Watch the video.

Here is a transcript of the poem:
What Teachers Make, or
Objection Overruled, or
If things don’t work out, you can always go to law school

By Taylor Mali

He says the problem with teachers is, “What’s a kid going to learn
from someone who decided his best option in life was to become a teacher?”

He reminds the other dinner guests that it’s true what they say about

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That those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.

I decide to bite my tongue instead of his
and resist the urge to remind the other dinner guests
that it’s also true what they say about lawyers.

Because we’re eating, after all, and this is polite conversation.

“I mean, you’re a teacher, Taylor”
“Be honest. What do you make?”

And I wish he hadn’t done that
(asked me to be honest)
because, you see, I have a policy
about honesty and ass-kicking:
which is, if you ask for it, then I have to let you have it.

You want to know what I make?

I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could.
I can make a C+ feel like a Congressional medal of honor
and I can make an A- feel like a slap in the face.
How dare you waste my time with anything less than your very best.

You wanna know what I make?

I make kids sit through 40 minutes of study hall
in absolute silence.
No, you can not work in groups.
No, you can not ask a question (so put your hand down)
Why won’t I let you go to the bathroom?
Because you’re bored and you don’t really have to go, do you?

You wanna know what I make?

I make parents tremble in fear when I call home at around dinner time:
“Hi, This is Mr. Mali, I hope I haven’t called at a bad time,
I just wanted to talk to you about something your son did today.
he said, “Leave the kid alone. I still cry sometimes, don’t you?”
And it was the noblest act of courage I have ever seen.

I make parents see their children for who they are
and who they can be.

You want to know what I make?

I make kids question.
I make them criticize.
I make them apologize and mean it.
I make them write, write, write.
And then I make them read.
I make them spell definitely beautiful, definitely beautiful, definitely
over and over again until they will never misspell
either one of those words again.
I make them show all their work in math.
And then hide it on their final drafts in English.
I make them realize that if you got this (brains)
then you follow this (heart) and if someone ever tries to judge you
by what you make, you give them this (the finger).

Let me break it down for you, so you know what I say is true:
I make a difference! What about you?

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5 responses to “What do Teachers Make?”

  1. mcpagal says:

    Brilliant poem, and the way it was performed made it seem so spontaneous! It would be great to have such a dedicated and inspiring teacher – it really does make a difference.


    he is the man!

  3. Last part was kinda….:-/…… hahahahaha

  4. asiyasmom says:

    I watched the video and found it entertaining, but not very inspiring. He makes parents see their children for who they are? I already KNOW my kids for who they are and don’t need a government employee to help me with that. The part about the study hall is one reason I’m glad mine are being taught at home. I don’t want anybody judging whether my kid actually has to go or not. Imagine your boss telling you that you don’t have to go!

  5. sillybachi says:

    Oh. Boy.

    I have a weakness for spokenword type stuff and this…this is a question I’ve been pondering for a while…should I teach or shouldn’t I teach?

    It’s looking a little more tempting now. :)

    Asiyasmom: Your kids are very lucky mashAllah that their parents know who they are. A lot of kids (especially those whose parents are divorced or raising them alone) don’t have that…their parents don’t really know them.
    Sometimes a teacher can help the parent to understand the child’s strengths and weaknesses in a neutral way. And I really admire the teachers who have the insight to do that. It changes lives.

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