Saturday, June 9, 2007

This Goes Out to All of Those Condescending People Who "Admire" What I Do

I just discovered Taylor Mali about 3 minutes ago.

His sentiments mirror the depths of the caverns of my mind when people ask me why I don't just change jobs and make more money because social benefit work doesn't and may never pay. It has SUCH a condescending tone and it drives me INSANE.

I think to myself,

"Yeah. And any business with a bottom line that puts profit over people does. And there's a HELL of a lot of them.

There are SWATHS of sectors that didn't even START OUT making money to begin with that do that.

I'm glad you're traveling to (hip "ethnic" "out of the way" "servile and gracious population" destination) next week.

Maybe you'll donate some money at some benefit so long as it serves alcohol to offset your carbon emissions...or share with your pal at your next champagne club meeting about how Bono and Bob Geldof really made a moving speech about societies with privilidge CAUSING and ignoring the plight in Africa or bust some rhymes from that SICK hip hop album you adore by Taleb Kwali..."

It's not as easy as that for me.

Call me sensitive.

Here's the poem. Watch the video. Be inspired.

"I make a difference. How about you?"


What Teachers Make, or
Objection Overruled, or
If things don't work out, you can always go to law school

By Taylor Mali

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 that it's true what they say about
Those who can, do; those who can't, teach.

I decide to bite my tongue instead of his
and resist the urge to remind the other dinner guests
that it's also true what they say about lawyers.

Because we're eating, after all, and this is polite company.

"I mean, you¹re a teacher, Taylor," he says.
"Be honest. What do you make?"

And I wish he hadn't done that
(asked me to be honest)
because, you see, I have a policy
about honesty and ass-kicking:
if you ask for it, then I have to let you have it.

You want to know what I make?

I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could.
I can make a C+ feel like a Congressional medal of honor
and an A- feel like a slap in the face.
How dare you waste my time with anything less than your very best.

I make kids sit through 40 minutes of study hall
in absolute silence. No, you may not work in groups.
No, you may not ask a question.
Why won't I let you get a drink of water?
Because you're not thirsty, you're bored, that's why.

I make parents tremble in fear when I call home:
I hope I haven't called at a bad time,
I just wanted to talk to you about something Billy said today.
Billy said, "Leave the kid alone. I still cry sometimes, don't you?"
And it was the noblest act of courage I have ever seen.

I make parents see their children for who they are
and what they can be.

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, write, write.
And then I make them read.
I make them spell definitely beautiful, definitely beautiful, definitely
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 got this (brains)
then you follow this (heart) and if someone ever tries to judge you
by what you make, you give them this (the finger).

Let me break it down for you, so you know what I say is true:
I make a difference! What about you?

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