Yesterday, my students took a mock MCAS. I sat with students and watched them work meticulously from 8:40-12:15. On these days, we often spare our students from homework. these days also aren’t our favorite days, and we get it.
After finishing the test, one of my students, asked me what the homework was going to be. I told him I was giving them the night off.
“But Ms. Kimpel, can I do some work on baseball averages tonight?” he pleaded.
“I don’t have anything ready, but if you don’t mind it hand written, I can give you something.” I told him and dug my media guide out from my purse. I wrote down a few batting averages on some ripped paper from my notebook.
This morning right after unpacking his bag, the student took out the piece of paper ripped from my notebook with the averages, and then took out a piece of lined paper, perfectly labeled with the batting averages in order.
“Did I do it right?” And mostly, he had.
“Almost. You just need to move Gonzalez. Can you show me where?”
“Oh! On top. Can I have some more for tonight?” he asked.
“Well, I do want you to review the new skill from today.”
“I’ll do that too. But my Dad and I want more batting averages and stuff to put in order. Can I have some?”
I handed him a whole media guide.
“If you look in the last page for each player, that’s where the averages are. For pitchers, though, you want to find the lowest ERAs, so order those from least to greatest.“
“I promise to bring it back tomorrow!” he said, as serious as a ten-year old can.
This morning I was also greeted with a picture on my desk. It was a picture of a baseball, the baseball looked like the world. And on top of the world, there was a bear, who looked like he had just conquered this baseball world. The caption read “The Teacher Who Saved Baseball.” Maybe the bear was me.
No Red Sox salary can match how I feel today. Driving home, listening to sports radio slander the Red Sox, I still smiled. Because as miserable as the Red Sox play, my students save baseball. Instead of visualizing a Sox defeat, I see my student and his father, practicing math with a media guide. Instead of reading the misery of a Shaughnessy article, I get to read the poem a student wrote using one ‘money’ word from the same article.
When I saw Sharon Robinson speak, the issue of no baseball came up. The often asked question arose: how can we get baseball back in urban communities? Maybe all we need to do, is not push it out. Just allow them some time, because, it’s the kids who will save baseball.