Poetry can do more than entertain. It can inspire. Slam poetry, which is a type of poetry that is highly politicized, and speaks on many issues including current social and economic issues, injustices and racial issues, is one of the most inspirational types. Education is often a big topic that many poets touch upon when performing.
This video features Taylor Mali, who is a slam poetry performer, and has been on seven National Poetry Slam teams. He is best known in the education world for his poem, “What Teachers Make,” an inspirational reflection of his nine years teaching.
In this poem, Taylor explains how he responded when asked what a teacher makes, referring to the amount of money. How he responds is very moving. Taylor talks about how as a teacher, he made his students sit in silence in study hall and made them write out all the work to math, things they didn’t always like, but would benefit their education.
As students get older, they begin to understand that teachers are doing this because they are passionate about what they do and want them to have the best education possible.
When referring to what teachers make, he lists several things. From making kids work harder than they ever thought they could, to making parents see their children for who they are. The biggest thing they make is a difference in the lives of their students. By using poetry to inspire and encourage, Taylor hopes he can spread his message to teachers everywhere.
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