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In his powerful making a difference speech, Poet Taylor Mali answers the age-old question of what do you make?
There’s a common saying that goes like this: those who can’t do, teach. Rarely are backup plans something even more difficult than the current pursuit. Parents, friends and external influences seem to—consciously or subconsciously—instill the idea that the only other way to pursue a passion is to teach others. Though teaching is a noble profession, Taylor Mali brings an important question to light regarding this stereotype: what kind of image are we giving children if the teaching is only the “next best thing?”
As one who emphasizes the value of honesty in his classroom, Mali delivers an intense yet comedic story of how he answered a dinner guest regarding how much he, a teacher, makes in his short yet authoritative speech. The passionate teacher describes the power of teachers, describing how he pushes kids past their limits, instills fear into parents with one phone call and makes parents see children for who they really are or who they can be. He make students “wonder, question, criticize, apologize, write, read, spell.” He makes students do these things because teachers are not just another backup profession; they make a difference.