You want to know what I make? I make kids wonder,
I make them question.
I make them criticize.
I make them apologize and mean it.
I make them write.
I make them read, read, read.
I make them spell definitely beautiful, definitely beautiful, definitely beautiful
over and 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 hide it on their final drafts in English.
I make them understand that if you’ve got this,
then you follow this,
and if someone ever tries to judge you
by what you make, you give them this.
– Taylor Mali
When I first saw Taylor Mali perform this poem, it brought me to tears, and at the time I had no idea why. But after years of working as a teacher and with teachers, I can finally articulate the emotion that this work evokes. Purpose. Teachers who take their responsibility to society seriously are truly a gift. Much like the salmon swimming upstream, from the outside looking in, it is tough to know why teachers do what they do. But we sure know it when we’ve been touched by a gifted teacher and we so rarely share our appreciation of the work that they do, everyday, in the face of daily challenges beyond our comprehension.
This week is Teacher Appreciation Week, so I encourage you to thank those teachers in your lives, or better yet, thank a teacher who has helped to make you who you are today. I guarantee, if you stop to think about it, you’ll remember a moment in time when a teacher made an impact in your life. Tell them how much you appreciate the difference they’ve made in your life!