Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Sandlots, Night Class, and Mind-Games

"All little kids play baseball or softball, whatever.  You play on the sandlot, and you play in Little League.
...what's more fun?  Little League...or the sandlot?"
This question was posed by one of my professors last night in my English Language Learners night class.  For two and a half hours we discussed many topics, but all I could think of was this weird WWE match going on in my head between The Sandlot and Little League.  Our professor, an eccentric man known to make outlandish statements, stated that, "We [adults] feel the need to ruin everything.  We can't just let kids play a pick-up game in the sandlot... it's gotta be organized!  We need rules!  Uniforms!  We need Little League."  For the entire class I was weighing the pros and cons in my mind.  Sure, I love rules, and Lord knows I love a good uniform- matching is my favorite.  But are these really my thoughts?  Or have I been trained by society- creativity beat out of me?  Waiting outside of my Young Adult Literature class earlier in the day, I heard students discussing how they were encountering problems reading young adult novels.  They felt they over-analyze, over-think, and nit-pick every detail of every assigned piece of work.  They were the Little League team, forced to play in The Sandlot.  Confused by the freedom, not used to using creativity, having forgotten that it comes naturally, these twenty year old adults stood outside of class uneasily, young adult novels in hand.  I found the scene interesting at the time, but after my night class when my mental WWE match began, I reflected back to this scene.  Maybe society does beat The Sandlot out of us as we age.  Maybe Little League has to happen at some point.  But is it necessary?  I think classrooms, college, and the world overall would be a much more interesting and enjoyable place if we all just "stopped thinking" every once in awhile.  Sure, you need to think to learn, but you also need to relax, have fun, and trust yourself.  After all,  
"If you weren't thinking so much, you would've caught the ball in the first place."

2 comments:

  1. First, I liked the old look, but I definitely like the new one too =)

    Second, Dr. Hicks said the same thing in our ELL class the other day and it also made me really think about how we sometimes take the real enjoyment and fun out of things. Like he said in class, these parents tend to make it about themselves getting out there and screaming instead of just letting the kids play the game and have some fun.

    When he was talking about this in class it made me think of a study that I heard before that upset me a little bit. Apparently a school decided to use the Harry Potter books in the classroom because so many kids all over the world were absolutely loving them. It completely backfired however, and these kids, who were forced to read the books for school instead of pleasure, ended up hating the books. I think it's sad that some of the systems in schools have ended up making children resent reading because they have it so forced upon them. It's especially hard as a future teacher because I would love more than anything to have my students be so enthralled with a novel which have I introduced them to in class, and truly want to inspire them to read, not make them despise it. =/

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  2. I have Hicks for ELL too, and that phrase really made me reflect on things. It makes me feel ashamed that everything is just so organized and no fun anymore. He also mentioned in the discussion about play dates, he was saying how people have organized play dates for their kids today when back in the day, the neighborhood kids usually just got to know one another and bonded. I've heard that kids are getting the flu and different viruses earlier because their parents don't let them play in the dirt and let them build up their immune systems. They need to learn to let them live a little! I never died from rolling around in the grass and making mud pies! As teachers we need to of course have an organized structured classroom, but also have a little bit of leeway, I would hate to be the teacher that made students hate Shakespeare or hate anything that we read for that matter. In the classroom we need to find a medium between "little league" and "the sandlot."

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