and I had to share it.
Before my children were born I taught seventh and eighth graders. I quit teaching to stay home with my new baby, but it was with mixed emotions. There were days when I LOVED my job, and there were days when all the hassles made teaching a miserable experience. As with any profession, there are those who do their job wonderfully and with passion, and then there are those who are counting the days to retirement and making everyone around them unhappy in the meantime. I wanted to be an inspiring teacher, pushing my students to push themselves. Somedays it worked. Somedays it felt like train wreck, and I took it very hard.
Several years later I'm still undecided about it. Teaching is difficult work, and it's hard to have your game on everyday. This video sparked a positive response in me. It reminded me of so many things I loved about teaching. I wanted to yell "Yes! That's what I'm talking about!" If I ever go back to the classroom, I'll be sure to watch this again (and again, especially on the tough days)!
The author of this poem is Taylor Mali. He has been a classroom teacher, and is still a teaching advocate. He is also heavily involved with poetry slams. He has several videos on YouTube of his poetry slam performances. (Be warned, some are a little racier than others.) I really enjoyed What Teachers Make and Miracle Workers.
(What? You don't know what a poetry slam is? A slam is a poetry reading competition. The poems that do the best at a slam are the ones that the audience "gets" after a single reading. Forget the flowery language and abstract thought. These send the message home immediately, just like the one above.)
To all the teachers out there and to all the advocates that make them feel appreciated, I thank you.