Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “What Teachers Make: In Praise of the Greatest Job in the World” as Want to Read:
What Teachers Make: In Praise of the Greatest Job in the World
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

What Teachers Make: In Praise of the Greatest Job in the World

4.16  ·  Rating Details  ·  923 Ratings  ·  152 Reviews
The right book at the right time: an impassioned defense of teachers and why our society needs them now more than ever.Former middle-school teacher and teachers' advocate Taylor Mali struck a chord with his passionate response to a man at a dinner party who asked him what kind of salary teachers make-a poetic rant that has been seen and forwarded millions of times on Faceb ...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published March 29th 2012 by G.P. Putnam's Sons (first published January 1st 2012)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about What Teachers Make, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about What Teachers Make

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,829)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Aug 01, 2012 K rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a high school English teacher, I am always a fan of books that promote teaching and encourage us to take a fresh look at one of the most influential and important positions in America. I was thrilled after glancing at Taylor Mali's book, and while I was excited to read it at the beginning, by the end, I was fairly disappointed.
Mali has a strong introduction, explaining how the poem which shares the same title as the book, came about, and how his career evolved as a result of this poem (he no
Apr 21, 2012 Tatiana rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir, education
What Teachers Make is similiar to many teacher memoirs, except that it isn’t. Even though former classroom teacher and poet, author Taylor Mali, doesn’t exactly ignore the problems with the educational system in America, he also doesn’t dwell on issues not soon resolved. In both his poem, “What Teachers Make,” and in this novel, he instead chooses to focus on the lost art of respecting teachers and the job they do every day.

I don’t have my license yet (though I spend tons of time in classrooms)
What Teachers Make: In Praise of the Greatest Job in the World by Taylor Mali is a very comforting book to read if you are a teacher (if you're not a teacher, you probably won't read it, which is a shame). In a series of vignettes, Mali depicts some of the challenges and rewards of teaching. Like parenthood, with even less narcissistic gratification, teaching is a career that no one would choose looking simply at a cost/benefits analysis. It is a vocation in which the many hours of drudgery are ...more
May 23, 2012 Sherry rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2012
I loved this book!

Taylor Mali wrote the poem What Teachers Make after a party where he was at where a lawyer was putting down teachers. He vented his frustrations and performed the poem at a poetry slam. From there it just spread. He started doing presentations and eventually wrote this book.

There are lots of parts of this book that I really liked. I really like his explanation for when a kid asks,""When are we ever going to need this in real life?" the answer is not what they expect: never.
Jun 15, 2012 Mickey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had not heard of Mali's poem "What Teachers Make" before I picked up this book. There's been a steady stream of books written by teachers about their profession. Some are how-to books (like Teach Like Your Hair's on Fire: The Methods and Madness Inside Room 56), some are humorous, anecdotal send-ups (like 32 Third Graders and One Class Bunny: Life Lessons from Teaching), others show a more problematic reality of public schools (like Educating ESME: Diary of a Teacher's First Year). Some are bi ...more
Apr 18, 2012 M rated it it was amazing
Mali really excels at the short essay. Quips and anecdotes from his teaching days and other times with poems interspersed throughout. I don't know how many people need to be reminded that teaching is important, and yes there are awful teachers, but there are incredibly wonderful teachers. Mali delves into what teachers make besides money, why they do it, his most rewarding experiences, and the problems facing teachers these days. His analysis that anyone who thinks teachers are greedy and use th ...more
Whenever I feel especially frustrated and depressed about the state of education, I pull up Taylor Mali's youtube performance of this poem. I watch his fierceness and I feel better. So, I was thrilled to find this book, and wallowed in the deliciousness for a couple of days. I found lines and pages and poems that made me so grateful to have chosen this profession...or to have been chosen by this profession.

I have seen Mali perform this poem at the SOS Rally in DC...I told people who were all ago
Victoria Haf
Oct 09, 2015 Victoria Haf rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Es un libro corto e inspirador, no sé que tanta relación con la profesión de profesor tenga la gente pero yo me siento cercana, tuve muchos buenos maestros, mis papás son maestros, quien me lo prestó fue maestra de inglés un buen rato y yo misma lo fui por 6 meses cuando tenía 18 años jajaja
Es real, la educación es de lo más importante y es una lástima que no se valore como trabajo, el que escribió este libro es muy apasionado y tiene buenas historias que contar
Sep 17, 2015 Parker rated it it was amazing
This book. This book is one I carry like a bible. This is the REASON I wanted to be a teacher, Taylor, an amazing poet, took the words from my heart and put them into a poem. A poem that became popular and a poem that is the core of my soul. I give this book as a gift to my child's teachers, to my teacher friends because some days are rough but we know what teachers make and its what makes us a teacher.
Taylor Mali is a warrior for teachers. I watch his "What Teachers Make" poem at least once a month for inspiration when I'm feeling defeated.

This little book says so much of what teachers actually make. Some of the stories had me laughing out loud and some had me emotional. Although I've decided that teachers have a different sense of humor than everyone else. At my school, all someone has to do is mention "HoneyBun Boy" during lunch and the whole lounge
Jun 29, 2014 Laurie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I feel like the people who will read this book are the people who already agree with everything in this book. It's the people who don't agree and who treat teachers like second-class citizens and worthless contributors to society who probably won't read this book, but those are the people who need to read this book. The author, Taylor Mali, was a teacher for nine years, and he writes a lot about his personal experiences in the classroom. This is a short book with even shorter chapters, so it's a ...more
Brandon Cline
Jul 09, 2015 Brandon Cline rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book for teachers ... Easy to read !!!
Apr 25, 2015 Juliet rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Everyone should read this-- not just teachers.
Jorge Figueroa
Aug 02, 2015 Jorge Figueroa rated it it was amazing
TL, DR Lo amé y se lo voy a regalara a cada uno de mis amigos que tiene vocación por la docencia.

Pasó algo muy raro mientras leía este libro.
Quedará para la anécdota, ustedes saben que no soporto a la gente que presume de estar siempre muy ocupada, es como si en su cabezita lo compararán con ser muy importantes, ojo, que si hay quienes están ocupados todo el tiempo pero no lo llevan como medalla de honor.

Yo a veces he pecado de lo contrario, quejarme de TOOODO el tiempo libre que tenía, tuve...

I have strong feelings about this book. And they are conflicting feelings. So we're clear, some of the people I admire most in the entire world are teachers. As a group generally, I do think they are largely overworked, underpaid, and inadequately appreciated. And yet, something about this book really got under my skin. Maybe it was the opening story, where the young obnoxious lawyer calls out the noble teacher, apparently suggesting that because teachers get paid so little, no intelligent, self ...more
Jun 28, 2015 Catherine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Having met Taylor Mali in person (keynote at an education conference), I can with all truthfulness say that he is wonderfully hysterical. I love that he's a teacher advocate and knows first-hand what it's like to be in the classroom. I found his stories and poems validating. But nothing, and I repeat nothing, can take the place of his verbal delivery of his poems. There is something about watching his face, his gestures, and hearing the nuances of his tone as he delivers his poems that is missin ...more
Mar 29, 2015 Bobbi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: education
"What Teachers Make" is a memoir of sorts. This book is short and simple to read- I read it in one day and I consider myself a slow reader. I really appreciated the honesty conveyed in this book about the teaching profession. Mali had a focus for each chapter (which are only about 5-8 pages or so each). He says some ideas so clearly that should be so obvious to me as a teacher, but it is not until I hear them in a different context and light that they make total and complete sense. This book is ...more
Nov 11, 2015 James rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I learned of this poem from the author's video performance of it, and like all poetry, it makes a lot more sense to me having heard it aloud first.

That said, I like the print version of this and have shared it with my own college students who are future teachers.

Some people get caught up on Mali's particular teaching style. I do not teach the way he teaches, but the details are beside the point. The dedication, the passion, the clear understanding each teacher has of her or his own students -- t
Oct 30, 2014 Jaclyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As a new teacher, I loved the perspective in this book. Taylor Mali addressed the often negative image of teachers (overpaid, lazy, spoiled, etc.) while proving how grossly inaccurate this stereotype is. However, he was also very honest about the difficulties that arise throughout a teaching career (motivating underachieving students, dealing with difficult parents, and reaching unrealistic expectations). His overall message was inspiring and motivating. It confirms just how important the job of ...more
Aug 11, 2015 Bryan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fantastic read for anyone who is a teacher, knows a teacher, or relies on a teacher for their well-being. Hint: that's everyone.

This quick-hitter is a delightful blend of short tales from Taylor's experiences as a teacher and since moving away from classroom into his current role representing teachers in a number of arenas.

Individually, they are amusing, they entertain, and a couple might even make you cry. Collectively, they weave the entire experience of teachers, from classroom to community
Jan 08, 2016 Becca rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely loved this book! Taylor Mali is an extraordinary inspiration to all teachers, and opens the eyes of those who don't know what teachers really do. Thank you for the inspiration, Taylor :)
Yara Hussein
Feb 26, 2014 Yara Hussein rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What Teachers Make is definitely one of the best books about teaching.If you have read Mali's poem "What Teachers Make" or watched him performing it,you will know why this book is one of the best.Mali is a real advocate of teaching and you can feel that from his very first words in the book.As you turn pages,you become more engaged with his stories,his students and his poems.I asked my friend to get me that book from the US as I could not find it in Egypt and believe me was worth it!
Two a
Randall Christopher
Jan 04, 2014 Randall Christopher rated it it was amazing
This book was full of inspiring anecdotes and thoughts. As a teacher myself, Taylor Mali epitomizes what it means to be great at what you do. It is very evident he is a tremendous individual and I am proud to call him a colleague of mine, though I have never met him, as all teachers are colleagues no matter what institution they teach. This is a must read for every teacher, as well as for anyone who doesn't appreciate what a teacher does on a daily basis. I really enjoyed when he stated that eve ...more
Paul  Hankins
Nov 24, 2011 Paul Hankins marked it as to-read
I CANNOT WAIT TO READ THIS ONE. Available in March 2012, but I knew my teacher friends would want to see this right away. Adding to list now. . .
Odessa Armstrong
Aug 06, 2014 Odessa Armstrong rated it really liked it
Taylor Mali is an incredible poet and his book What Teachers Make is a great collection of short chapters detailing different experiences he had as a teacher. I have always used Taylor Mali's poetry in my classroom and so I enjoyed peeking into Mali's classroom, especially because he taught middle school like myself.

Having a voice speak up over the criticisms and ignorant treatment of educators in this country is appreciated. Mali's book helps to honor the energy and heart we give as teachers a
This book was written in response to a lawyer who, unsurprisingly these days, had nothing good to say about teachers. And Mali overheard him and a poem resulted from it called "What Teachers Make." Now, in the original confrontation, Mali didn't say anything, but the next day, he wrote the poem, which got a HUGE amount of recognition over the years.

I actually really enjoyed this book. Mali talked about his experiences as a teacher. He talked about how the greatest moments weren't because of what
May 06, 2013 Tammy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book deserves 5 stars for the poem that kicks off the book and 3 stars for the rest of it. If nothing else, read the poem "What Teacher's Make" by Taylor Mali Then watch him perform it on YouTube. Now. I will wait for you.

If you're as in love with Taylor Mali as I was once you're done watching him perform his poetry life, then snag this book from your local library. And then buy it (used) and give it to every teach you know. Teacher Appreciation Week is happening RIGHT NOW (as
Feb 10, 2015 Beth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
On New Year's Eve of 1997 Taylor Mali attended a dinner party where one of the guests, a young, arrogant lawyer, made it clear his opinion about the teaching profession: one must be of impaired intelligence to choose a career that paid so little money and earned such little respect.

While Mali could not find the proper words to put the man in his place on that particular night, his anger at that encounter resulted in one of the most famous diatribes to ever come out of the teaching profession.

Paul  Hankins
Whether it's sharing about the time a Steinway floated outside of his classroom window on a April morning, the time a group of boys shaved their heads in solidarity for another suffering from cancer, or describing the medieval sword project (wherein points were taken off if they could not withstand the "smack" and "poke" test, Taylor Mali has created a book that has come at the right time for the right group of people.

An extended love letter to the practice of teaching and to those who have answ
Oct 06, 2012 Jessie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Yesterday I missed school to attend a workshop for teachers. I have to admit that I was the most excited to listen to the visiting authors, however, I did get some good strategies from the breakout sessions. One of the authors who spoke was Taylor Mali. I bought the only book they had for us at the conference. I thought that I was buying a poetry book, since he was known for his poetry, so I was surprised when I looked inside and found a regular book.
Some of the chapters tell the stories behi
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 60 61 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Adolescent Literacy: Turning Promise Into Practice
  • Fires in the Bathroom: Advice for Teachers from High School Students
  • Book Love: Developing Depth, Stamina, and Passion in Adolescent Readers
  • 10 Things Every Writer Needs to Know
  • Blending Genre, Altering Style: Writing Multigenre Papers
  • Reading Ladders: Leading Students from Where They Are to Where We'd Like Them to Be
  • Literature Circles, second edition: Voice and Choice in Book Clubs & Reading Groups
  • See Me After Class: Advice for Teachers by Teachers
  • In the Middle: New Understandings about Writing, Reading, and Learning
  • Real Revision: Authors' Strategies to Share with Student Writers
  • Reading Don't Fix No Chevys: Literacy in the Lives of Young Men
  • Deeper Reading: Comprehending Challenging Texts, 4-12
  • The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher's Life
  • Do I Really Have to Teach Reading?: Content Comprehension, Grades 6-12
  • I Am a Pencil: A Teacher, His Kids, and Their World of Stories
  • Words, Words, Words: Teaching Vocabulary in Grades 4-12
  • Because Writing Matters: Improving Student Writing in Our Schools
Taylor Mali is a former teacher and classically trained actor who now makes his living as a professional poet. One of the original poets to appear on the HBO series Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry, he is a veteran of the poetry slam and the author of What Learning Leaves and several spoken word CDs and DVDs. He lives and writes in New York City. For more information, visit"
More about Taylor Mali...

Share This Book

“And I want to tell her… [that] changing your mind is one of the best ways of finding out whether or not you still have one.” 3 likes
“There is no better outcome of one’s education, which the American philosopher William Durant called “a progressive discovery of our ignorance.” 0 likes
More quotes…