It has been a challenging year for teachers and the parents of children who attend elementary and high schools in Ontario. Work-to-rule, walkouts, heated words flung at each other in front of rolling news cameras – terrible examples of what not to do to achieve a win-win. How hard it must be to try to convince students not to be bullies when we see examples of grown-ups bullying and taunting each other every day. It’s no longer ideological, it has become personal. Even though many teachers do not agree with the Unions’ positions, they appear to have no choice but to ‘go along to get along’. The thing is, I know three eager young graduates of Teacher’s College who would give anything to be in front of a classroom, sharing their knowledge and energy and engaging with their students. But they are blocked. And that’s a damn shame…

As we all struggle with the impending end of another school year and wonder what can be done to bring the joy and accomplishment back to today’s classrooms, it’s comforting to know that we parents, grandparents and students aren’t alone. This short video clip gives nourishing food for thought.

Taylor Mali is a poet, teacher, and the curator of the Page Meets Stage series that takes place at the Bowery Poetry Club in New York City.

The release of this video comes at the tail end of Taylor Mali’s Quest for a Thousand Teachers, a goal set in 2000 to inspire 1,000 people to become teachers through “poetry, persuasion, and perseverance.” After more than 12 years, Taylor has reached this goal and is soon to release his book, “What Teachers Make,” described as “an impassioned defense of teachers and why our society needs them now more than ever.” #whatteachersmake

A product of Semicolon Productions:

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And Bill Gates, who admits to being a high school dropout, has something to say about teachers in this TED Talk.

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What seems to be forgotten in all this noise is the children who have a right to learn from willing, happy, competent teachers in a safe, welcoming environment. I remember fondly the amazing teachers I had in elementary school and in high school and university. But back then, there were no strikes that we got dragged in to. Teaching was a calling, not just a union job.
Yeah, I’m sounding like an old fart again. The thing is, those ‘good old days’ were, by and large, good.