Taylor Mali on what teachers make (and thoughts on my Dad)

My Dad taught.  He taught at all levels.  He was a high school shop teacher and he was an Education Professor at Adelphi University.  but he was always a teacher first. He loved teaching more than anything.  He was at teaching at age 77 until the cancer stopped him.  The administrators couldn’t stop him.  He loved the students, and they praised him in their evaluations.  He destroyed the retirement age barrier at Adelphi because he never burnt out.  He only got better.  The University held a memorial service for my Dad because he taught there for 30 years.  What students said about him made me want to weep.  He touched and shaped their lives.  We got a note from a graduate student who went back to get her masters.  She said that my Dad reminded her what she loved about teaching.  My Dad didn’t just teach in the classroom.  He disliked classrooms, formality, and tests.  The scenic picture on the Adelphi catalog from the 1970s of a class learning beneath a tree like a scene out of ancient Greece is, you guessed it, my Dad.  He never gave a test.  He thought they were a waste of everyone’s time.  His students worked in groups.  They did project that would fill huge binders.  they worked harder than they did for any other class, and they loved my Dad for it because he showed them what they could do.  His students called him by his first name .  They were all going to be teachers soon enough, and he taught them to be colleagues.  But my Dad didn’t limit his love of teaching to the university.  He saw himself as responsible to the whole community.  Whether it was the woman who worked at the post office who needed advice on her son, or a buddy of mine who needed to turn his lifetime of teaching experience into a degree, my Dad was there to help and guide.  My Dad would have loved this video.  I am a lawyer, and some days I think I should have become a teacher instead.

One Response

  1. I think you should do it . . . . . be a teacher!!!!!

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