Note: To protect the privacy of our members, e-mail addresses have been removed from the archived messages. As a result, some links may be broken.

Find Lesson Plans on! GettyGames

[Fwd: Fwd: [talk-kitchen] [ncte-talk] poem by Taylor Mali]


From: Michele Berlin (stardust606_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sat Aug 31 2002 - 09:05:42 PDT

I got this from a friend who is on an english teacher list. I love it
and thought I would share.

attached mail follows:


attached mail follows:


attached mail follows:

Objection overruled, or
You can always go to law school if things don't work out
A poem 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 temptation to remind
the 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, you're 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, 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.
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 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 goddamn difference! What about you?
Transcript of a live chat with Taylor Mali
To leave NCTE-TALK, send email to
In the first line of the note put: unsubscribe ncte-talk
To leave NCTE-TALK-DIGEST put: unsubscribe ncte-talk-digest
Report problems to
To leave TALK-KITCHEN, email
and in the first line of the note put: unsubscribe talk-kitchen
To leave TALK-KITCHEN-DIGEST put: unsubscribe talk-kitchen-digest
Write to if you run into trouble.