I first heard of, and heard, Taylor Mali while attending Stanford University’s Teacher Education Program (STEP) in 2010-2011. His passion and raw truthfulness resonated strongly with me as I watched a video of him reciting this poem at a slam poetry competition. In fact, it struck such a chord in me that for my capstone assignment at the end of the program, where I elected to create an audio video collage speaking to my experiences with the California Standards for the Teaching Profession (CSTPs) as a student teacher and teacher candidate, I included two clips from Taylor’s recitation along with other clips from Stand and Deliver, Dead Poets Society, and To Sir ,with Love.
Mali exemplifies the zeal I bring to my second career in a way that still gives me goose bumps when I watch him recite “What Teachers Make.” Bravo, Taylor!
The following brief resume is taken from Taylor Mali’s website:
Mali is a vocal advocate of teachers and the nobility of teaching, having himself spent nine years in the classroom teaching everything from English and history to math and S.A.T. test preparation. He has performed and lectured for teachers all over the world, and his 12-year long Quest for One Thousand Teachers, completed in April of 2012, helped create 1,000 new teachers through “poetry, persuasion, and perseverance,” an achievement Mali commemorated by donating 12″ of his hair to the American Cancer Society.
Mali is the author most recently of “What Teachers Make: In Praise of the Greatest Job in the World” (Putnam 2012)….
What Teachers Make
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…
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