So, if you’re an teacher or at all involved in the education world, you’ve probably seen this well-circulated video by Taylor Mali called “What Teachers Make.” In case you haven’t, here it is:
I never really liked this video, personally. It always seemed a bit too threatening, a bit too focused on classroom “management” (read: control) rather than student engagement. My boyfriend, Matt Keefe, wrote a poem in response that I think is awesomely fitting—and gave me permission to post it here. (He’s an ed student at Indiana University.) He called it “My respectful response to the Taylor Mali video.” (Full disclosure before you read—this poem has some rough language.)
I may not hold your kinda sway,
scaring a classroom full of kids every day,
but I still got something to say.
You’re selling noxious narcotics
to pedagogues who need optics – CLEAR lens –
especially you and your power-hungry friends.
Talking about you wanna turn a classroom into a jail -
no wonder these kids want to bail
while you spit boring shit they know won’t stick,
so they’d rather go in the bathroom
and look at their own dick.
Sound familiar? I think it should
after watching you on the stage
bragging about your shit smells good.
I hear you pumping lies about how fear is to be prized
while kids are bleeding out their eyes-
Mr. Mali, it’s you I despise.