This blog entry is not for everyone. It will not motivate everyone and it others it will offend. It is an adaptation of Alec Baldwin’s legendary speech from the 1992 movie Glengarry Glen Ross. If the original speech doesn’t motivate you at some level, don’t finish reading this. Alec Baldwin is a jerk, but his seven minute speech is one of the most famous, most quoted and most popular film scenes of all time. Baldwin delivered an expletive filled rant, a sadistic invective, but it motivates me somehow, sometimes. Is it cruel? Yes. Over the top? No question. I would never speak to anyone else this way and I wouldn’t want anyone to talk to me like this, but I speak to myself like this from time to time. I am not masochistic and I am not getting down on myself, but listening to this video challenges me to be a better teacher. It motivates me to quit holding back, to quit blaming the students, to quit blaming the system, to quit trying to hang on until things change. It motivates me to change the one thing I can change—myself. And it reminds me that teaching is based on skill more than on materials or programs. You might want to watch the original video to catch the tone, cadence and body language before you read on. You can watch the original here: . If you are still reading, here is the teacher twist that I hear in my mind. Blake is the Alec Baldwin character, in this imagined scenario, a super teacher, whose lessons always work. I am the wimpy character and also the incompetent but confident teacher.

Blake: Let me have your attention for a moment! Because you’re talking, you’re talking about what? Complaining about that lesson you messed up? Some dumb kid doesn’t want to learn what you’re teaching? Some project you’re trying to finish, and so forth? Let’s talk about something important.

Put that coffee down! Coffee’s for teachers only. You think I’m messing with you? I am not messing with you. I’m here from downtown. I’m here from the district office. And I’m here on a mission of mercy.

Your name’s Hedstrom?

Hedstrom: Yeah.

Blake: You call yourself a teacher, you son of a bitch?

Incompetent but Confident Teacher: I don’t have to listen to this crap.

Blake: You certainly don’t, pal. Because the good news is you shouldn’t be teaching at all. The bad news is you’ve got just one week to re-earn the right to call yourself a teacher, starting with today’s lesson.

Oh, have I got your attention now? Good. Because we’re adding a little something to this month’s teaching incentive. As you all know, first place is evidence that your students are enthusiastically learning. Anybody want to see second place? Second prize is the students just like you. Third prize is you should quit teaching.

Do you get the picture? Are you laughing now? You’ve got students. The school district pays you good money to teach them. Get them to show you they have learned something! If you can’t teach the students you’re given, if they can show you nothing, you are nothing! Hit the street, pal, and beat it, because you should leave!

Hedstrom: The students don’t want to learn!

Blake: The students don’t want to learn? The freakin’ students don’t want to learn? You don’t want to learn. I’ve been in this business for years…

Incompetent but Confident Teacher: Oh yeah? What’s your name?

Blake: SCREW YOU, that’s my name!! You know why, “teacher”? Because you handed your students a worksheet today and I delivered them an engaging learning experience. That’s my name!!

[to Hedstrom] And your name is “I can’t do that”. If you can’t do what a teacher does, if you can’t teach them, then go home and tell your spouse your troubles, because only one thing counts in teaching: Get them to show they have learned something. You hear me, you lazy maggots?

[Blake flips over a blackboard which has two sets of letters on it: ABC, and AIDA.]

A-B-C: A-Always, B-Be, C-Checking. Always Be Checking for comprehension! Always be checking for comprehension!

A-I-D-A: Attention, Interest, Decision, Action. Attention: Do I have your attention? Interest: Are you interested? I know you are, because it’s teach or walk. You really start teaching now, or you hit the streets! Decision: Have you finally decided to teach? And action. A-I-D-A.

Get in there and teach! You’ve got the students coming into your classrooms. You think they come in just to be kept busy? A student doesn’t walk into your room unless, on some level, he wants to learn. They’re sitting there waiting to learn from you! Are you going to teach them? Are you teacher enough to do that?

Incompetent but Confident Teacher: Incredible.

Blake:  What’s the problem, pal?

Incompetent but Confident Teacher: You’re such a hero, you’re so talented. How come you’re coming down here waste your time with such a bunch of bums?

Blake: You see this lesson plan book?

[Blake throws down his lesson plan book] You see this book?

Incompetent but Confident Teacher: Yeah.

Blake: That book contains more good ideas than you have taught in years. I taught my students every day last year. What did you do? You see, pal, that’s who I am. And you’re nothing. Nice guy? I don’t give a crap. Coach? Screw you, go home and play ball with your kids!! You want to work here? Teach!!  You think this is abuse? You think this is abuse, you knuckleheads? If you can’t take this, how can take the abuse you get in a classroom?! You don’t like it, leave.

I can go in there today, with the materials you’ve got, and make those kids learn! Today! In one class period!  Can you? Can you?

Go and do likewise! A-I-D-A!! Get mad! You sons of bitches!  Get mad!! You know what it takes to teach? It takes thick skin and a tender heart to teach. Go and do likewise, people.


The students are out there, if you teach them well, we all win. You don’t, I’ve got no sympathy for you. You need to go out in to those classrooms today and check for understanding, make them show they have learned something, it’s yours. If not, you’re gonna be shining my shoes.

And you know what you’ll be saying, bunch of losers, sitting around in a lounge somewhere. [in a mocking weak voice] “Oh yeah, I used to be a real teacher, it’s a tough racket.”

[He takes out large stack of new materials tied together with string from his briefcase.]

These are the latest and gratest materials. These are the best materials. And to you, they’re gold. And you don’t get them. Why? Because to give them to you is just throwing them away. They’re for real teachers.

I’d wish you good luck, but you wouldn’t know what to do with it if you got it. [to Incompetent but Confident Teacher as he picks up his planning book again] And to answer your question, pal, why am I here? I came here because the school board asked me to, they asked for a favor, to try and motivate you to actually teach. I said the real favor would be to follow my advice and fire your lazy ass, because a loser is a loser.