What Teachers Make

Waddaya mean make? Former teacher and poetry slam artist Taylor Mali makes kids work hard, makes parents tremble with calls home, and makes a difference. What about you?
Taylor Mali

Taylor Mali at the international school in Stockholm.

Photo by Emil Brikha

Taylor Mali is one of the most well-known poets to have emerged from the poetry slam movement and one of the few people in the world to have no job other than that of poet. Mali is a vocal advocate of teachers and the nobility of teaching, having himself spent nine years in the classroom teaching everything. He has performed and lectured for teachers all over the world, and his New Teacher Project has a goal of creating 1,000 new teachers through "poetry, persuasion, and perseverance."

In this video, Taylor Mali uses his standup comic routine to praise the value of teachers. Referencing the American preoccupation with what a person "makes," Mali describes a litany of the things he -- as a teacher himself -- "makes." He concludes with the most important of all: "A difference."