The sweaty teacher’s lament – Justin Lamb

The sweaty teacher’s lament – Justin Lamb


I’d love to be the compassionate teacher; the tough, but fair teacher. But to my brilliant young minds, these scholars for whom I’d stand up at all costs, I’m the sweaty teacher. Not the compassionate teacher who, hey, by the way, happens to sweat, or even the teacher who sweats. No. The sweaty teacher. Adjective, sweaty purposefully coming before noun, teacher, as if to say, “This is Mr. Lamb. Do not define him by the profession he devotes his life to. Define him by the geysers he calls armpits.” Every morning, I wake up in a cold… nevermind. The easy-going teacher says, “I shouldn’t sweat it.” The loud teacher says, “YEAH YOU SHOULDN’T SWEAT IT!” But even the empathetic teacher doesn’t understand. I’ve got funny teacher potential. I used to pretend the notes I confiscated in class were thank you letters. Acknowledgements of my great teaching. “Oh ho ho, you shouldn’t have!” Until I intercepted one about a Mr. Stank Pits. No, really. You shouldn’t have. Ever since I’ve started developing quirky habits to deflect attention, to become someone new: the teacher who shrugs his shoulders really aggressively. The teacher who tucks his tie into his pants and pulls the end out his fly because he’s so wacky. But it’s no use. Because I had the sweaty teacher, too, for geography. And to this day I cannot remember the capital of Bulgaria, and the two bodies of water I know the most about sat below his shoulders. And now, I’m the one looking like I’ve got the Atlantic and Pacific in headlocks. The one being asked, “How was the dunk tank?” “There was no dunk tank! We live in New Orleans and it is humid!” is how I’d respond if I was the angry teacher. Instead, I look the kid in the eye as the sweat cascades down my nose, and splatters onto his blank paper below, and I say, “I sweat because I am working my tail off and I need you to do the same.”

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About the Author: John Markowski

55 Comments

  1. The message is good, but it's buried under 3 minutes of screechy voice and nonsense. Poorly delivered.

  2. Wait: is this guy an English teacher? The only possible educational aspect of this that I can think of is that he's reciting something that he wrote. Of course, how would that be any different from other teachers' lessons where they memorize what they will say before delivering them? Yeah, I'm grasping at straws.

  3. Was there a hidden message? Or was it just about how we shouldn't judge sweaty people. No hate, just wondering…

  4. I found this teacher to be equally inspiring, as perspiring. Nothing to complain about here.  It's likely he keeps his students awake and alert.  Look beyond the sweat, good children. Cheers to Teachers who poor themselves into their work with passion- like Justin Lamb!

  5. Is this a joke from TED? for the very first time since I subscribed on TED, this is the only one I really didn't like, no substance, I didn't learn any… I hope TED will listen to the feedback from others on here

  6. Keep in mind that this is a spoken word performance and that it's not really suppose to follow the same outline as the other Ted Talks. 🙂

  7. Even though I like this, and he seems like a cool teacher, I really think this isn't the right content for this channel.

  8. It's a nice message, but the act is really unlikable.
    and honestly if you don't want to have sweaty armpits, just choose the right underwear fabric (for me is polyester spandex blend) and shave your armpits then wear an antiperspirant.
    If still won't work, you should probably consider medical solution.

  9. Fuck man this guys voice is annoying as high hell he's not sweaty teacher he's the teacher who needs to stfu

  10. Justin Lamb, I love the way you project your speech. You're the "awesome teacher, who sounds like he's trying out for the new Edger Allen Peo movie."
    That's a compliment not a negative comment, I admire E.A.P.'s tone of poems and language. 😁

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