once upon a time (little known fact here), i fell in love with slam poetry. to the point where i considered doing my master’s thesis on rhythmic transcriptions of spoken word performances.
instead, i just watch a lot of slam poets on youtube.
this piece remains one of my very favorites, for various reasons.really, if you only have 3 minutes to either read my post or watch the video…watch the video. it’s that good.
i can easily rattle off to you a dozen of my friends who are working teachers right now. two of them went to cornell with me – yes, ivy league education and then became a teacher. another one, i grew up with, and she is one of the most intelligent women i know. another was my best friend in middle and high school, and is so perfectly suited for what she does (teaching 3rd grade) – she puts SO much into her job, into her students, and is incredibly smart and has a love for literature that i know she passes on.
a good friend of mine from high school teaches at a charter school in jersey…talk about changing lives. every single student that walks into that system is getting a wealth of amazing opportunities, from teachers who have been hand-picked because of their intelligence but also because of their enthusiasm, their creativity, the sheer size of their hearts.
the list goes on and on…so many of us have decided, in one form or another, to become educators. i never thought i would be teaching, at the college level or otherwise. never in a million years would i have imagined how much i would love it, commit to it. yet here i am. not because i couldn’t do anything else; because i don’t want to do anything else.
i don’t care if you teach second grade or secondary ed; it doesn’t matter if you spend your days with play-doh and crayons or with bunsen burners and amino acid compounds. teaching is teaching, and it is damn hard and, contrary to some peoples’ beliefs, it is a goddamn respectable profession.
i can always tell when, at 18 years old, i get a student who has never had an ounce of respect for a teacher in their life. who thinks that they’re above the plebian tasks of homework and actually attending class. who clearly thinks that the person standing in front of them and twenty other peers has failed in some monumental way, and had to slink back to academia with their tail between their legs, stooping so low as to teach classes for a living.
…have you watched that video yet? watch it.
and listen to that last line. and again.
“i make a goddamn difference. what about you?”