A few years ago, Taylor Mali became a viral superstar with his poem "What Teachers Make" (if you haven't watched, do so immediately). The first time I saw his performance of the poem, I was a college student finishing up a degree in Secondary Education and it reestablished every reason for why I wanted to become a teacher. I am now beginning my third year of teaching and I decided to put my own twist on the poem. Enjoy.
I make my classroom a home for the kids who feel homeless.
I nurture like a parent for the kids who are parent-less.
I find uses for the kids who are told they are useless.
And I show and give love to the kids who are loveless.
I teach my kids that "gay" and "retarded" are not words that mean "stupid"
But that "dumb" and "unintelligent" are
So that when they meet people who are gay and "retarded"
They treat them with the respect that all humans deserve.
I make a first day of school feel like a brand new beginning
As opposed to a continuation of failure
A fresh start for a kid
Who has been told he can't, one too many times
I give kids enough money to buy the newest pair of Jordan's
So that they can walk through the halls with pride
Call it materialistic, but I just made their day
And they won't have to cower in fear of what their peers might say
I recognize the potential when no one else sees it
I push kids to their limits, because no one else does
When they tell me they don't want to "do this shit"
I look past the outburst to see a damaged soul, not a rambunctious child
I teach. What about you?