What do Teachers Make?

I found this by accident, and am so glad of it.  This is a piece by Taylor Mali, a well known Slam Poet and teacher.  As a teacher, i wish more of my colleagues felt this way.  Enjoy:

03:16 – June 03, 2007

Here is the text from it:

What Teachers Make, or
Objection Overruled, or
If things don’t work out, you can always go to law school

By Taylor Mali
www.taylormali.com

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:

That those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.

I decide to bite my tongue instead of his
and resist the urge to remind the other 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
(asked me to be honest)
because, you see, I have a policy
about honesty and ass-kicking:
which is, if you ask for it, then I have to let you have it.

You want to know what I make?

I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could.
I can make a C+ feel like a Congressional medal of honor
and I can make an A- feel like a slap in the face.
How dare you waste my time with anything less than your very best.

You wanna know what I make?

I make kids sit through 40 minutes of study hall
in absolute silence.
No, you can not work in groups.
No, you can not ask a question (so put your hand down)
Why won’t I let you go to the bathroom?
Because you’re bored and you don’t really have to go, do you?

You wanna know what I make?

I make parents tremble in fear when I call home at around dinner time:
“Hi, This is Mr. Mali, I hope I haven’t called at a bad time,
I just wanted to talk to you about something your son did today.
he said, “Leave the kid alone. I still cry sometimes, don’t you?”
And it was the noblest act of courage I have ever seen.

I make parents see their children for who they are
and who they can be.

You want to know what I make?

I make kids question.
I make them criticize.
I make them apologize and mean it.
I make them write, write, write.
And then I make them read.
I make them spell definitely beautiful, definitely beautiful, definitely
beautiful
over and over again until they will never misspell
either one of those words again.
I make them show all their work in math.
And then hide it on their final drafts in English.
I make them realize that if you got this (brains)
then you follow this (heart) and if someone ever tries to judge you
by what you make, you give them this (the finger).

Let me break it down for you, so you know what I say is true:
I make a difference! What about you?

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Video: Rage for Order – Oliver Sacks

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Facts about Tehran

Tehran, is the capital of Iran, and one of the biggest cities in the world (in terms of population as well as surface area).

Here are a few facts that i did NOT know about my old home town:

Cool. thank you wikipedia!

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Socialnomics

an ‘interesting’ video on the rise of Social Media, and the shift in Paradigm that they are entailing.  I’m not sure i have an opinion on this yet:

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Persian role in the formation of Arabic Grammar

Through a twisted path i came across this quote today, attributed to the prophet of Islam, Muhammad:

‘If learning were suspended at the highest parts of heaven the Iranians would attain it.’

In fact i came across it in an excerpt of an essay by famous Iranologist Richard Frye, wherein he quotes Ibn Khaldun.  Now i did not know who he was, this Ibn Khaldun, and was much more surprised that i did not know him, after finding out who he actually is!

According to Wikipedia,

was a North African polymath — an astronomer,economisthistorianIslamic scholarIslamic theologianhafizjuristlawyermathematicianmilitary strategistnutritionistphilosopher,social scientist and statesman—born in North Africa in present-day Tunisia. He is considered a forerunner of several social scientific disciplines: demographycultural historyhistoriography, the philosophy of history, and sociology.  He is also considered one of the forerunners of modern economics …  Ibn Khaldun is considered by many to be the father of a number of these disciplines, and of social sciences in general, for anticipating many elements of these disciplines centuries before they were founded in the West. He is best known for his Muqaddimah (known asProlegomenon in the West), the first volume of his book on universal historyKitab al-Ibar.

Seems like quite a character!  Its a shame that we are so well indoctrinated on western (i.e. european) thinkers, and miss out on all the incredible other characters from the world.

Anyways, Ibn Khaldun has  a passage in his Muqaddimah, wherein he makes a reference to aforementioned hadith by Muhammad regarding Iranians:

”It is a remarkable fact that, with few exceptions, most Muslim scholars both in the religious and intellectual sciences have been non-Arabs… Thus the founders of grammar were Sibawaih, and after him al-Farisi and al- Zajjaj. All of them were of Iranian descent. They were brought up in the Arabic language and acquired knowledge of it throught their upbringing and through contact with the Arabs. They invented the rules (of grammar) and made it into a discipline for later generations. Most of the hadith scholars, who preserved the traditions of the Prophet for the Muslims, were also Iranians, or Persian in language and breeding, because the discipline was widely cultivated in Iraq and regions beyond. Furthermore, all the great jurists were Iranians, as is well known. The same applies to speculative theologians, and to most of the Qur’an commentators. Only the Iranians engaged in the task of preserving knowledge and writing systematic scholarly works. Thus the truth of the statement of the Prophet becomes apparent, ‘If learning were suspended at the highest parts of heaven the Iranians would attain it.’ The intellectual sciences were also the preserve of the Iranians, left alone by the Arabs, who did not cultivate them. They were cultivated by Arabicized Iranians, as was the case with all the crafts, as we stated at the beginning. This situation continued in the cities as long as the Iranian, and the Iranian lands, Iraq, Khurasan and ma wara-l-nahr, retained their sedentary culture. But when those cities fell into ruins,

sedentary culture, which God has devised for the attainment of the sciences and the crafts, disappeared from them. “

Wow, i did not know that! That arabic grammar was basically systematized and formed by Persian scholars after the arabic conquest.
Professor Edward G. Browne summarizes the extent of Iranian’s contribution to Arabian science as follows:
Take from what is generally called Arabian science from exegesis, tradition, theology, philosophy, medicine, lexicography, history, biography, even Arabic grammar the work contributed by Persians and the best part is gone. (Ed Browne, Vol. I, p. 204)

Wow, i did not know that! That arabic grammar, in its modern form, was basically systematized and formed by Persian scholars after the arabic conquest, namely one named Sibawayh.  Once again according to Wikipedia:

Abu Beshr ʻAmr ibn ʻUthman ibn Qanbar Al-Beşrey (aka:Sibawayh) (Sibuyeh in Persian, سيبويه Sîbawayh in Arabic, سیبویه) was alinguist of Persian origin born ca. 760 in the town of Bayza (ancient Nesayak) in the Fars province of Iran, died in Shiraz, also in the Fars, around 180 AH (796797).

He was one of the earliest and greatest grammarians of the Arabic language, and his phonetic description of Arabic is one of the most precise ever made, leading some to compare him with Panini. He greatly helped to spread the Arabic language in the Middle East.

Of interest also is the motivation for such work:

Much of the impetus for this work came from the desire for non-Arab Muslims to understand the Qur’an properly and thoroughly; the Qur’an, which is composed in a poetic language that even native Arabic speakers must study with great care in order to comprehend thoroughly, is even more difficult for those who, like Sibawayh, did not grow up speaking Arabic

The other named by Ibn Khaldun is:

Kamal al-Din Abu’l-Hasan Muhammad Al-Farisi (1267-ca.1319/1320[1]) (Persianكمال‌الدين ابوالحسن محمد فارسی) was a prominent PersianMuslim physicistmathematician, and scientist born in TabrizIran. He made two major contributions to science, one on optics, the other on number theory. Al-Farisi was a pupil of the great astronomer and mathematician Qutb al-Din al-Shirazi, who in turn was a pupil of Nasir al-Din Tusi.

Now, we all know (or perhaps dont know), that a great number of the so called “islamic scientists/philosophers” were in fact Persians, but who – forcibly – spoke, wrote and published in arabic.  These include – but are not limited to – the likes of :

just to name a few  (here is a more exhaustive list).

Professor Edward G. Browne summarizes the extent of Iranian’s contribution to Arabian science as follows:

Take from what is generally called Arabian science from exegesis, tradition, theology, philosophy, medicine, lexicography, history, biography, even Arabic grammar the work contributed by Persians and the best part is gone. (Ed Browne, Vol. I, p. 204)

Now i admit, a good part of my motivation for this ‘rant’ of sorts is that damn Iran Nationalism which I can’t seem to rid myself of, peppered with a small but omnipresent dose of begrudgement against arabs (i truly am tryign to get rid of that, and have done a fairly good job in the past years),

But here is my point: anytime you look up any of these names, in almost any encyclopedia ESPECIALLY in the west, they are identified as “islamic” scientists, or philsophers, or poets, or…whatever!

That is the the equivalent of calling Isaac Newton, Rene Descartes, Christian Huygens, and James clerk Maxwell, simply as “christian scientists”.

It makes no sense! What does religion have anythign to do with it.

Either you dispense with the qualifying adjectives before the name, be it religious, or nationalistic, or you stick to the ethnicity/nationality of the thinker.  What does religion have anythign to do with it.

On a final note, Richard Frye, comes across as a very interesting character himself. As a world renowned scholar (prof emeritus still at Harvard), he has been one of the true champions of Persian/Iranian culture through his lifetime.  Here is an interview he had with CNN regarding his wish to be buried in Isfahan upon his death (like two other noted Iranologists Arthur Pope and Phyllis Ackerman).  I just love his comment at the end regarding the Islamic republic and how the Iranian people will get through this as they have for thousands of years:

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Happy Birthday Canada!!

I will see you in a fortnight, but for now, Happy Birthday!!

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The Daily Show in Iran: Part 3

Jon Stewart’s Daily show in Iran: Jason Jones reporting on the Knowledge of Iranian’s about the US:

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Jason Jones: Behind the Veil – Ayatollah You So
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political Humor Jason Jones in Iran

And part 2 of his report (interviews Ebrahim Yazdi, And Abtahi – great interview):

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Jason Jones: Behind the Veil – Persians of Interest
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political Humor Jason Jones in Iran

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VIDEO: Makhmalbaf at Paris Demonstration (June 21)

Here is a gallery of the photos from today’s Demonstrations at Paris, which took presence in the Presence of Mohsen Makhmalbaf, as well Jack Lang (former education minister and one of the heads of the Socialist Party in France), a representative of Bertrand Delanoe (mayor of Paris), Representative of the government’s UMP party, representatives from the Communist party, the Iranian students Union, the head of the french student union, as well as the Union of Jewish Students in france.

Here is a video of Makhmalbaf’s speech:

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Poem: Where is this place? this is Iran

I dont know what to say, other than just to listen to it, and try and not cry. All the more poignant now that we are hearing of the slaughter that is going on in the streets of our beloved country.

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Hooman Majd on Bill Maher’s Real Time: June 19

Here is Hooman Majd on Bill Maher’s HBO show, Real Time:

Here is the rest of the show and the panel discussion (joel stein, paul begala, Kathy kay)

Read more

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