Sunday, January 17, 2010

Taylor Mali on what teachers make


Miss Eyre said...

This guy is awesome. I dare you to read this poem of his and not cry:

I read it to my classes last year and I could barely restrain my own tears, though, believe me, I practiced.

ed notes online said...

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Joe Bower said...

I have a problem with any teacher who says "I make them" over and over again.

I kinda get what wants to get at, but deep down, he says some pretty concerning things.

"I make them apologize..." if they don't mean it, aren't you just teaching them to lie?

"I make them write definitely beautiful over and over again..." what if they learn to spell these two words perfectly, but swear to God they'll never pick up a pen again, because they hated grammar bootcamp?

Before we give a standing ovation for this, I think we need to think about what and how he said what he said. Some of it is a little... scary.

Schoolgal said...

Any one who teaches knows when an apology is phony. I think Mali makes sure that if you are going to be phony, you will face consequences. When they "mean it", that action will never happen again.

Grammar bootcamp? You betcha!!

Miss Eyre said...

I think Mali's piece speaks of a tough, conscientious teacher who refuses to let kids slide on "small stuff." Not forcing kids to deal with the consequences of their actions, be they grammatical or ethical errors, doesn't do anyone any favors.

Anonymous said...

I have absolutely no problem with teachers who "make" their students do things over and over again, as long as there is a purpose besides busy work. Will students always like it? No. But that's life. Who doesn't have a job where they don't sometimes have to do things they don't want to do? It's a valuable life skill, and that's how you get better at anything. I tell my students that all the time. "You get better by doing it over and over and over again." When I direct the school play, do we just run through a scene once and then leave it there? Of course not! You practice until you're convinced you'll never get the words out of your head, and then when the time comes for the performance you're ready. Should school be ALL repetitive? Of course not! I'm not advocating that at all. But the fact is that sometimes it's the best way to learn. Education is not always about being entertained. That's not always the best way to learn. Sometimes it is, sometimes it's not. It all depends on the situation. I would certainly take any teacher who challenges their students and holds them accountable to a teacher who is more concerned with being liked or making sure their students have fun.