At supper the other night, JT announced that math was his favorite class. The announcement was confirmation of the progress that I have seen all year, but it was so very good to hear that JT himself understands this fact.
A few years ago, JT lost his confidence in math. The decline wasn’t abrupt but it was painful to see and even harder to remedy. We spent a few years simply holding the line, working to undo the damage to his math confidence. The value of statistics in baseball, his enduring obsession in life, meant that math must be useful. But it took quite some time for that realization to truly take hold in JT’s imagination. This year, we’ve turned a corner and I know it because math class has gone from being the class he must endure each day to the class he enjoys the most.
The reason is, of course, a teacher. It’s a teacher with a wicked smart sense of humor who comes to class each day convinced that the first period class will get things done. For Mr. S., they do rise to the challenge. Homework is complete, questions are asked, and a daily work ethic has been established. When the going gets hard, JT gathers up his practice problems and his math book and marches right into to Mr. S’s classroom, convinced that Mr. S. will work his magic. He always does.