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Watching the World Series last night got me thinking, but not in a good way, about how education is similar to baseball: teachers are pitchers and students are hitters.

Most of the time, students do not know what pitch their teacher is going to throw.

Most of the time, teachers hope to throw great pitches to strike students out.

How many times do teachers throw curve-balls in class? How often do you see students swinging and missing, spinning around like a ballerina, looking silly and out of place.

Students walk back to the dugout, head looking down at the only brightness and life in their lives, while the teacher thinks about what a great, standards based pitch he just threw. The student had no clue the teacher would throw a split-fingered fastball on a 2-1 count.

There are teachers who throw a lot of junk like Phil Niekro, the famous knuckle ball pitcher. These teachers throw different assignments at their students on a daily basis. Assignments come in at different speeds and different angles, sometimes dropping right in front of the plate, confusing them.

There are teachers who throw a lot of strikes and fastballs like Nolan Ryan, the all time strike-out leader. They are feared because they throw fastballs for strikes as students swing and miss – striking out daily. Every once in a while, a student gets lucky and makes contact with the lesson. Sometimes the teacher even throws a curve ball just to keep the students paying attention.

A pitcher needs someone to throw to…

There are students who only care about their grades, just like the players who only care about their statistics. These students look at their stats daily, stressing out if they only got three hits out of their five times at bat.

Students do not care if the pitches are good; they just want to hit the ball.

Teachers do not care if the hitters are good; they just want the ball to be hit.

Students are focused on the guy selling Cracker-Jacks on the second level of the stadium.

Teachers are focused on the suits telling them to do what the suits above are telling them to do.

Both the pitchers and the hitters are not focused on what really matters – learning: an unmeasurable, subjective concept like one’s competitive drive.

Credit: Stephen Davis

 

 


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