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Life on the Deckle Edge

Poetry Friday: What Do Teachers Make?

Our daughter Morgan, new grad student and brand-new third-grade teacher!

Teachers. It’s that time of year.

For me, it’s that time of life. My baby girl, the one who used to dress in prairie dresses channeling the Ingalls girls, and drag out some small congregation of dolls and/or stuffed animals, and hold court under the sun and on the grass with them – this same child has a brand new teacher badge and her name on a door a few hours away in a South Carolina elementary school. Third grade.

I could not be more proud, and I’m looking forward to a quick trip to help her finish setting up her classroom in a couple of days. I remember with utmost fondness my third grade teacher in Florida, Mrs. Ashton, and I’m certain there will be a few wide-eyed young faces in this state who will remember Morgan decades down the road, too.

So, today, this Poetry Friday is for you, Morgan! And ALL of you wonderful Poetry Friday folks who give yourselves to the next generation in schools, libraries, on school visits…. This poem might not be appropriate for the wall of a third-grade classroom, but it’s appropriate for the walls in every teacher’s heart. (Many of you know it already, I’m sure, but maybe the newbies don’t – and it’s worth reading again!)


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— …



(Please click here to read the rest. You have to read the rest!)

Our youngest, Seth, actually got to go to the Dodge Poetry Festival a couple of years ago, where Taylor Mali was a featured poet (and Seth’s favorite). Why was my son there? An incredible teacher took him.

Speaking of incredible teachers, Mary Lee has today’s Roundup over at A Year of Reading . Enjoy!
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