Before the end of the school year in June, I had read Taylor Mali’s What Teachers Make (in praise of the greatest job in the world) book of essays about education, which is like an extended riff off his very famous poem about teachers. It was one of those books that did not deserve a place in my bookcase. No, it deserved to be in the hands of another teacher. So, I wrote a little note in the inside cover, asking the person who got the book to read it, and pass it along to another teacher. (I think Bud Hunt gave me this idea of passing the book forward. ).
As it turned out, one of the participants in a workshops I gave over the summer around Common Core was the teacher in whose mailbox at school I had put What Teachers Make. She’s a colleague in a grade below me, and I figured she would enjoy Mali. She sure did, gushing about the essays and thanking me for turning her on to Mali, and then I asked her the question that was on my mind: Did you pass it on?
She did, and now I wonder if the book will make its way through various networks in our school district, and as I consider that, I think: that surely was a good investment that takes advantage of the physical network of teachers that I am part of. I love that idea of a book of inspiring essays slowly making the rounds, and I hope the book doesn’t fall into the hands of someone who just files it away. That book is meant to be read, and appreciated, by teachers. And it would be different if our principal or superintendent had given us that for a reading assignment, don’t you think? There is something in the power of grassroots connections among teachers, and we don’t always figure out how to use those connections to our advantage.
Maybe someday, the book will drop in your hands, too. If so, read it and pass it on, won’t you?
Peace (in the story),
PS — here is Taylor Mali, slamming his poem that inspired the book: