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February 16, 2010

What Do Teachers Make?

Ever get frustrated with a teacher?

Ever get frustrated being a teacher?

Just as being student can be frustrating and difficult being a teacher can be worse - or some times wonderful.

Taylor Mali, a former eighth grade teacher has some interesting insights on the frustrating and wonderful world of teaching. You can see some of his thoughts and observations...

...on Youtube.

My favorite video clip of his is his poetry performance rant titled "What teachers make" http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=taylor+mali&search_type=&aq=f.

The English language, as usual, lends itself to ambiguity: "What teachers make" could refer to how much money teachers earn (not much) or it could mean "What do teachers produce?"

The reality is, teachers don't "produce" anything tangible or measurable.

We do what we do, then the time is up and everyone leaves. At the end of a term, the students (or teachers) leave for good. Rarely are relationships sustained.

There is something oddly migratory about teaching. Most of us, especially ESL teachers, drift across the landscape and work for different schools and institutions. We don't seem to belong anywhere.

Taylor Mali's video clips remind us why we do what we do.

Teachers may not make a product you can weigh or measure at the end of the day, but, at some level we do far more than that; we make a difference in the lives of our students.

I show these clips to my students. Almost all of them (and I) wish we had teachers like this.

Here are some of my favorites;

"Speak with Conviction"http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DmLE2bliXCI

"Like Lilly Like Wilson" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Azu8XWcHzFM

We are all always learning. And it is always more fun to learn together.

Let me know what it is about English that you find confounding, infuriating or endlessly intriguing.

Listen, read and speak. Make your new language your own.

My best to you as you make your way through this intriguing , constantly shifting linguistic landscape.


About the author of this entry:

Morf has a B.A.from the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington and an MAT (Master's in Teaching English) from the University of Washington (Seattle). Morf prefers international and independent films, foreign foods he can't pronounce, music no one else has heard of and riding his bicycle in foreign cities.

Posted by mmorf at February 16, 2010 11:32 PM

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