These conversations sometimes make me angry. They sometimes make me sad. But they always make me proud. We're homeschoolers, and Jessica began her academic life at our kitchen table learning to read from stories I wrote about the adventures of her doll, Cupcake. She was four then.
I loved homeschooling, and we still homeschool her two younger siblings.
But I could not do what she does. I couldn't teach the masses. I know I couldn't. I couldn't deal with the bureaucracy or the politics of teaching with her aplomb. I couldn't face parents I knew to be abusiv
e or neglectful without asking, "Now tell me again why it was you chose to breed?" I couldn't stare into the eyes of some of my students, knowing that I was probably the only person in their lives who even gave a damn, without breaking down.
Jessica does this day after day. And despite the hardships and aggravations of her job, she truly loves it.
"Do what you love." That's what I've told all my kids. And she is.
So when I was looking for another audiobook to put on my iPod and came across this poem by educator/poet Taylor Mali I had to share it with Jessica. And with you. It's a wonderful message that should be heard by anyone who judges a teacher - or any other person's worth - by their paycheck.
Mali isn't just inspirational; he's damn funny, too. I came across this clip on proofreading vs. Spell Check over the weekend and couldn't stop laughing.