Celebrating What we Value Most

It is often said, “we celebrate the things we value most.”  Well, I want to celebrate you…the teachers and leaders of our students.  

Long hours, endless frustrations, and countless sacrifices.  Fighting off colds, exhaustion, and 9 weeks of wear and tear.  Diagnosing, teaching, assessing, re-teaching, and re-assessing.  Teenagers, their parents, and all the hormones.

Success, the glimmer of hope, and the celebratory emails home.  The amazing lesson, the excitement of learning, and the joy in their eyes.  The growth, the pride, and the sense of achievement.  Smiles, laughs, hugs, and high-fives.

Students are both the greatest and the toughest part of this job.  They are the challenge and the reward all at once.  Yet, rarely, do they stop to say thank you and show their appreciation.  BUT…it’s there, I promise.  From the conversations I have in the halls and at lunch to the messages from parents.  Our students appreciate their teachers and this school.  The smiles and overall feeling of happiness that runs rampant throughout our school community is the most telling sign.  Our kids enjoy AC and they appreciate the work you do on their behalf.

What do teachers make anyway?

Well, if you haven’t seen this before you should see it now (I apologize for the occasional bad word)…and THANK YOU!!!!

What Teachers Make
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 teachers:
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 conversation.

I mean, you’re a teacher, Taylor.
Be honest. What do you make?

And I wish he hadn’t done that— asked me to be honest—
because, you see, I have this policy about honesty and ass-­‐kicking:
if you ask for it, then 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 go to the bathroom?
Because you’re bored.
And you don’t really have to go to the bathroom, do you?

I make parents tremble in fear when I call home:
Hi. This is Mr. Mali. I hope I haven’t called at a bad time,
I just wanted to talk to you about something your son said today.
To the biggest bully in the grade, he said,
“Leave the kid alone. I still cry sometimes, don’t you?
It’s no big deal.”
And that was 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’ve got this,
then you follow this,
and if someone ever tries to judge you
by what you make, you give them this.

Here, let me break it down for you, so you know what I say is true:
Teachers make a goddamn difference! Now what about you?

Thank you Taylor Mali for his inspiration and permission to use his work to inspire!

Mali. Taylor. “What Teachers Make.” What Learning Leaves. Newtown, CT: Hanover Press, 2002. Print. (ISBN: 1-­‐887012-­‐17-­‐6)

Teachers Make…

Let me start with THANK YOU!!

You’ve made it, we’re more than halfway through the longest haul of the school year!  This 11 week stretch is an exhausting time that wears hard on teachers.  I know many of you have battled, are battling, or will battle colds, flus, and just general exhaustion.  The kids feel it too but it manifests in a little different way.  They become restless and antsy.  They seemingly forget all about why they come to school.  With the end of Quarter One and parent conferences now in the rear view mirror, students no longer feel a sense of urgency and often times lose focus.  All of these things combined make this the most grueling 11 weeks of the school year. BUT, like I said, you’re more than halfway there, thank you!!

In order to get you to the winter break in one piece I’m asking you to do a few things this weekend and for the next few weeks:

1.  Take care of yourself.  Eat well, get some exercise, and take a step away from school and enjoy the beautiful autumn weather we’ve been having.  If you’re not well, stay home and get the rest you deserve.

2.  Take care of each other.  I want to say thank you and congratulate you all for being so amazing to each other already!  Everyone who has stepped up to cook for others, bring them medicine, be someone to lean on, supported the musical/sports/MUN/ASAs; you are all immensely important to this community.  Without everyone’s support and passion this school/community wouldn’t be as amazing as it is!

3.  Smile.  Take a few moments to reflect on the amazing opportunity that we all have.  Canadian Thanksgiving has passed and the American version is just around the corner but there’s no reason that you can’t stop and collect your thoughts in order to appreciate the wonderful lives we have.

4.  Read (and watch if you have a VPN) this poem.  This is from one of the most well-known poets to come out of the poetry slam movement, Taylor Mali.  If you’ve never heard of him before…be warned, his stuff is awesome!!!

http://www.taylormali.com/poems-online/what-teachers-make/ (Read)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RGKm201n-U4 (Watch, with a VPN)

Thank you again 🙂