What Teachers Make
It’s National Teacher Recognition Week and so all week I’ll be posting on teachers, teaching practices, and education more generally. Why? Because I don’t think there is anything more important for our future than how we are educating our children (and ourselves) right now. Which means that teachers are incredibly important.
But you wouldn’t necessarily know that from the kind of attention given teachers in the media and from politicians in recent years. Politicians, in particular, have heaped all kind of blame on our teachers for the state of our kids’ education even as they have been slashing school budgets, laying siege to the Department of Education, and cutting the taxes of the wealthy.
Look, I know, like everyone else, that we can improve the education we are offering our children and grandchildren, but I also know that no one wants to do that more than our teachers. Our own children have had some fabulous teachers and so have we, and those persons have made an incredible difference in our lives. And so one of the things I most deeply believe is that we need to give teachers far more encouragement and respect than they’ve been receiving of late. Toward that end, I want to start this week’s series with a spoken poem by Taylor Mali called “What Teachers Make.”
Taylor Mali came out of the Poetry Slam movement and has performed his spoken poetry around the world. He also taught English, history, and math for nine years at several schools and this poem comes out of that experience. I love this poem and it’s performance because each time I hear it I am, once again, so deeply moved by the difficult and important calling our teachers have.
If you’ve got any teachers in your life – family, friends, community, congregation – that are important to you, I’d urge you to send them this poem. But first, listen to it yourself and be encouraged and inspired again at just how vital our teachers are.
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