What do teachers really make


What’s true for me today is …

I am inspired by this poem, “What Teachers Make,” by Taylor Mali:

Great example of how we define value. Today, one of my adult students told me she really didn’t see the application of writing skills to her life. Ummm … what is a writing nerd come part-part-time instructor really supposed to say to that? Then I found this video while searching TED Talks for something else entirely. I watched it three times in a row and, newly courageous, logged back into my online writing class to see if my student had changed her mind. Sadly, no. But, it didn’t matter (well, let’s be honest-it didn’t matter as much) because some of my other students had taken up the call to action and actually engaged my writing-has-no-purpose student in a pretty chatty dialogue. Sometimes teaching, it seems, is less about what you make (as in earn) than what you make of the situation (as in learn).–Pardon the rhyme; I couldn’t help it 🙂


If you have the time to watch this YouTube performance of the poem, I’d love to hear your thoughts. And if you like Mali, he has several other hilarious videos/poems to watch (some of them a bit saucy).


About Lauren

L.J. Shapiro is a writer, yogi, and obsessive iPhotographer living in Southern California. She holds an MS in Writing and Book Publishing from Portland State University and has more than 10 years’ experience writing and editing for commercial and creative enterprises. Recent work has appeared in YOGANONYMOUS. She says: “Color, texture, words, gasps, exhales, divinity, darkness, lush florals, and lapis oceans. It’s about the details.”

2 responses »

  1. Brilliant video; thanks. I know people who brag how they hated school, and they disparage academics. But when they need help with a letter-to-the-editor, a business letter, or a complaint letter, they call on me, the teacher, to give assistance. Same with lawyers – people loathe them until they need a good one.

  2. Thank you for posting this experience with a student. I especially thank you for the video from Mr. Mali. As a teacher, it brought tears to my eyes. Those who really teach, help others “DO”.

What's true for me today is ...

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