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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

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

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
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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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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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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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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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)


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A great video, from JUST BEFORE THE ELECTIONS,  of Ahmadinejad coming out only to be greeted by a mob of Moussavi supporters, chanting at first “moussavi, moussavi”…and then “liar liar liar”…and finally “Ahmadi bye bye , Ahmadi Bye Bye!”.  (and according to election results…these guys all went and voted for Ahmadinejad right after!…)

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A couple of interesting videos

This is as Iranian as it gets, people in the subway breaking into an impromptu chanting, singing session.  The spirit is so positive:

Larry king discussing the protests in Iran (with Shiva rose and Christian Amanpour):

One of the more famous and powerful revolution songs of ’79 put to the images of the current struggle in Iran:

Mohsen Makhmalbaf & Marjane Satrapi at the European Parliament (english and persian):

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“Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.”   – Asimov

Another day went by in the unrest in Iran.   News came through early on about the results of the peaceful demonstrations of the night before and brutal violence of the security forces and Basijis, leading to the death – according to Tehran province governor – of 7 demonstrators, and 8 deaths according to medical staff and doctors at the hospital treating the victims (see video below).

Personally, before i go further i have some questions for Mr. Ahmadinejad (i dont doubt that there are a few million of us, each with our own questions).  First of all, i found his comment describing the protesters as ‘riff-raff’ ( i can’t find a link to the article/speech, would welcome if someone has it), oddly reminiscent not only of Sarkozy’s “racaille” comment, in 2005 sparking the paris riots, but also, of Shah’s similar comments, which in some ways sparked, or at least fed the revolution.  The Iranian people do not like being belittled or discarded with such epithets.

Secondly I would like to know, if you, Mr. Ahmadinejad, claim and believe this was a free and fair election, Why do you need to arrest opposition politicans (and here)?

Why do you need to arrest the country’s Human Rights Activists?

If you won then Why do you need to arrest the peaceful demonstrators?
If you won, then why do you need to shut down the country’s conventional and internet communication lines (and here and here)?
If you won then Why do you need to tell International media to shut up (and here)and kick them out or to arrest them and beat them up?

Why do you need to kill your own future, your own university students?
If you won, then Why do you need to kill your fellow countrymen who are protesting peacefully (also, see videos below?
Shouldn’t the president of a country LISTEN to its citizens, isnt that what democracy is about, and after all its YOU who said Iran has the healthiest democracy in the world?


  • Getting back to Andrew Sullivan, he has been one of the most active livebloggers of the situation in Iran, and at least personally i’m very thankful to him.  (i really would like to know what makes him tick).  But he has been so with the spirit of the Green revolution, that at one point yesterday he was citing Rumi on the liveblog!!!


Another example of beautiful, peaceful, march of the protestors, in Tehran (jam-e jam):

Another (HD) video of the attack on the Basij base that had fired (and killed) some protestors:

SKYNEWS footage of yesterday’s demonstrations:

Doctors and nurses on protest:

Young protestor is shot in the stomach (disturbing video)

More violent attacks against protestors (disturbing):

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Videos of Tehran

UPDATE: Stunning video of the Basij (religious para-military) firing on the crowd with automatic weapons!!

A female protestor beign beaten with a stick for defending another:

A beautiful video of peace marching of tens of thousands in complete quiet:

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The Fabulous George Carlin Archive

I’d written this post a few weeks ago, but it seems much more fitting today.

George Carlin, that fabulous, genius of a stand up comic, (and Mr. Conductor on Shining times station!) died today, at 71.  It’s funny, every so often, you think to yourselves, there are certain people that you hope wouldn’t ever die.  Just becasue of how creative, and original they are, because of how much they contribue.  The two people in the entertainment business i always had this pre-emptive Lament for, have been George Carlin and Woody Allen. 

But what is wonderful is that while he may be physically gone, the body of work that is his legacy is preserved, and he stays with us in our thoughts.  So let us enjoy it, thinking about him.

So here is an archive of George Carlin videos available for free on the web:

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Quote for this Click

  • The cruelty of the old pharoah is a thing of the past! Let a whole new wave of cruelty wash over this lazy land! -- Bender

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There are, I think, three countries left in the world where I can go and I'm not as well-known as I am here. I'm a pretty big star, folks - I don't have to tell you. Superstar, I guess you could say. - - Bruce Willis (1998)



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