photo (37)I spent this Saturday cleaning up t-ball fields with a group of dads. While the kids watched us work, pitching in a little to move piles of leaves around, we raked infields, weeded outfields, and straightened up the edge of the baselines.

We had a good group, two cutting sod that had invaded the dirt, three raking the grass free from the soil, and two of us scooping grass and weeds into a wheelbarrow and hauling it away. As the father of a t-baller, this was my first clean up day, and it was fun to spend time with a bunch of baseball capped guys all working to make something better for our kids.

At one point someone said: “Many hands make light work.” He must have been a raker; I was busting my back. Well, not to be hyperbolic, we were all sweating and a bit grimy, all of us will be a touch sore tomorrow, and all of us spent a fair bit of time laughing.

But this isn’t a post about t-ball; it’s a post about learning.

Substitute Chromebook for shovel, essay for edging, and Google Doc for wheelbarrow, and I think you have a pretty good description of what school can be.

Collaborative, forward thinking, and worth it, hard word for a clear goal is at the root of success beyond the classroom as well as in it. Just as we cleared the fields for games that won’t begin for weeks and weeks, so too successful students learn how to delay gratification and work toward a bigger purpose.

We prepare kids by asking much of them and showing them the reason why. We get the most out of students (and ourselves) when we laugh as we work, problem solve together, and each pull together in pursuit of a greater purpose.

That end might be understanding statistics or the cause of the Civil War, it might be improving our time for the mile, or improving our vocabulary in an essay. Whatever the goal, good teaching inspires, good perspective encourages, and good company makes the work fun.

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