In the distant past, I was a teacher, so I know that not every teacher is a gem and not every teacher should in fact be a teacher, but I also know that the majority of teachers have something important to give. They work hard, much harder and longer than most people think. The stress of being responsible for the welfare and education of large groups of children, some of whom have serious problems or life situations that are impediments to their ability to learn, is enormous. Teachers have to put up with often clueless politicians with agendas making decisions about education without even asking the educators for input. Their achievements are difficult to isolate and measure, and they're easy targets for criticism. So, every now and then I just have to bring out Taylor Mali's poem, "What Teachers Make." It's been viewed many times in many forms (you've probably seen it), and this one was cleaned up slightly because it was for a teachers' inservice. But it is always relevant and always powerful.