Seventh-Inning Stretch


Sunday we went to a Mariner’s game. It was organized by a colleague, and I brought my husband and two boys. Well, they’re not really boys anymore. Where did the time go? Just yesterday we were planning summers that involved trips to Target for sun/water toys, and me desperately trying to think of ways to entertain two energetic and inquisitive sons. It would seem a day at the ballpark would entertain a 17 and 20 year old, but, as the kids say, “meh.” However, I was happy: I love going to baseball games. The zen of the whole thing, it reminded me of the old George Carlin bit about baseball versus football.

While there, of course I may have glanced, once or twice, at Facebook, or my other educational/interest feeds, and saw this article questioning if the last ten years have been a waste.  My friend looked up at me and asked if I ever stop: stop reading, researching, thinking: nope. I wanted to give this some thought. Even at a baseball game. And what I’ve come to is, no, it has not all been a waste, not at all. It’s been painful, and destructive, and a lot of truth to power kind of stuff, but no, not all a waste. Many of the Common Core standards are refreshing and challenging. The refocus on literacy is enlightening. And, if we have all been pushed harder in our professions, then so much the better. (Many have been pushed over the edge, and we’re still working on that.) Overall, it opened up a dialogue between policy makers and educators that has been raucous, at times contentious, but worthy. I believe more parents have gotten involved in a deeper, effectual way, and more voices are heard.

Every year during testing time a student will inevitably ask me if school is ‘over’ after testing, that somehow the last 20-30 days will find us all in a stasis, as if hermetically sealed until unwrapped in August. No, young sir, this is when the real fun begins!

A former student stopped by the other day (as they do from time to time). She confessed she felt she slacked off in 8th grade, and then this year, her freshman year, she started in Core Language Arts, and then moved to Honors, and is thriving. She credited directly what I taught in 8th grade prepared her to make this leap, even if she felt disengaged at the time. Her pride was evident, and justified.

We’re in this for the long stretch, not just a burst of speed. Nothing is a waste if we learn, talk, and reflect. Grab a snack, check the stats, and enjoy the game.