Tatiana's Reviews > What Teachers Make: In Praise of the Greatest Job in the World

What Teachers Make by Taylor Mali
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Apr 10, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: education, non-fiction
Read from April 09 to 20, 2012

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), but I still identified with much of the common sense Mali advocates using when teaching children. Not only are there good ideas for activities and projects packed into this pocket-sized volume, many of the incidents and memories are simply meant as examples of what students can do and who they can become when they are instructed by dedicated, creative, invested teachers.

Mali never got preachy, yet he has a way of making you want to jump up and do something. I am not surprised he has encouraged almost 1,000 people to become teachers. The way he describes both the challenges and rewards of the career is infectious. Not that I think reading one poem should be why you choose to do anything for the rest of your life. The people Mali touches, myself included, already have the teacher gene in their DNA; his words speak to that part of us and make us even more excited to teach others. Motivational speaking is certainly one of his strong suits, but the classroom has lost a great educator to the advocacy of teacher appreciation.

This is a memoir that I will be recommending to other pre-service and classroom teachers alike, as well as purchasing a copy of my own to reread after hard days in my ED classes. What's it all for? This. This is what I, as a teacher, will make...eventually.

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Reading Progress

04/13/2012 page 88
39.0% "I like Mali's POV so far -- refreshingly optimistic."

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message 1: by Virginia (new)

Virginia Lovely review. *sigh*


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