It’s quite lengthy and if you could get past his preacher-like way of saying things, his words could be pretty inspiring. I took the liberty of trying to transcribe snippets of his speech since I couldn’t find a copy of it online.
“Teaching to me is the single greatest act of defiance because every single day you are encouraging children to snap reality in half and look into another world. You are asking them to dream beyond anything that has ever been dreamed. You are telling them that the impossible is no more. You are looking into their little souls and telling them that they have such big dreams and you’re gonna fill them up with more. You’re gonna give them the knowledge that they need, the desire they need, the inspiration that they need so that on this day they will change the world. YOU ARE THE DREAM MAKERS.”
Because teachers SHOULDN’T be dream crushers. This part reminded me so much of Sir Ken Robinson’s Bring on the Learning Revolution speech:
There’s been a lot of talk about dreams over the course of this few days. And I wanted to just very quickly … I was very struck by Natalie Merchant’s songs last night, recovering old poems. I wanted to read you a quick, very short poem from W. B. Yeats, who some of you may know. He wrote this to his love, Maud Gonne, and he was bewailing the fact that he couldn’t really give her what he thought she wanted from him. And he says, “I’ve got something else, but it may not be for you.”
He says this: “Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths, Enwrought with gold and silver light, The blue and the dim and the dark cloths Of night and light and the half-light, I would spread the cloths under your feet: But I, being poor, have only my dreams; I have spread my dreams under your feet; Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.” And every day, everywhere, our children spread their dreams beneath our feet. And we should tread softly.
“We have an obligation to take this mighty profession, this mighty calling, and make it better than it was when we came in to it… We have an obligation. We understand what we signed up for… I knew what I signed up for. I knew exactly what I signed up for. And for those of you who don’t know by now, you signed up for the same thing. And if this is too hard for you, find something else to do.”
Teaching is NOT for everybody. Amen to that.
“You know that the children that we meet every day want nothing but love. I don’t care how big they are, I don’t care how small they are, they all want the same exact thing. They want to be treated like you love them. If you did nothing more than that, then they would go through fire for you. If you’ve ever been loved by a child, you know that there is no greater love… You’ve been loved by people before but you ‘aint never been loved like that.”
This is probably the part of his talk that struck me the most. I know that I’ll be forever grateful for the love of my former students. 😀