Monday, March 23, 2015

SOLC #23 A Lesson from Babe Ruth

The Slice of Life March Challenge is hosted by Two Writing Teachers.

This week my students will begin a unit on perseverance.  They will read a biography of their own choosing and write a literary essay on how this person persevered.  To prepare for the unit, I have been immersing myself in picture book biographies.  I have read several and written essays to use as mentor texts.  

One of the books I read was Becoming Babe Ruth by Matt Tavares.  I knew a little bit about Babe, such as his nicknames, The Sultan of Swat and The Colossus.  I also knew he played for the New York Yankees, and he held the home run record for a long time. But I did learn something.  

Babe Ruth was a troublemaker as a child.  His parents finally reached a point where they said enough is enough.  As a result, they sent him to the Saint Mary's Industrial School for Boys, a reform school.  It was there where he and 800 other boys, were introduced to the game of baseball.  It was there where he met a teacher, Brother Matthias.  Together these two things changed his life and sent him down a path I am sure he never thought was possible.  

This one teacher found something this troublemaker did well, and spent countless hours nurturing this gift and helping him to become a legend.  

All it took was one person who believed in him, a teacher.

Isn't that what we, as teachers, are called to do?  To find those strengths in our students and help them to shine?  To find those troublemakers and give them hope, to give them a dream, to show them someone cares?  To build those relationships and create learning environments where these students can thrive and turn the impossible into the possible?

Today, I will look at some of my students and wonder, "Have your parents or anyone else in your life given up on you?" 

 "Could you become a 'Babe Ruth'?"


  1. Your slice shows perseverance. I've been feeling tired and a bit cynical about teaching lately. Spring and Spring break is needed. Your post reminds me to stop being cynical and get back to being a champion for all my students. That really is our job!! Thanks for a Monday boost!

  2. Is there a Babe Ruth in your class? Now that is a loaded question! That is the question we need to ask as we look out at the sea of faces. I hate it when someone determines that a child is not worthy at a young age. There is hope for all.

  3. This is a great example of teachers doing what they love for the students that they love. I can tell you revel in the creation of units and thinking it requires. You have some lucky students!

  4. Your question made me think. Especially, I was thinking about couple of my trouble makers. Could they be Babe Ruth? I need to ponder that some more. Thanks for the thinking question!

  5. Yeah - he was a trouble maker, wasn't he. I always held it against him (in spite of all his talent) that he was so mean and nasty to Lou Gehrig. But, it's good to know about his teacher - she, at least, was able to set him straight.

  6. Great story and connection Leigh Anne! I want to check out this book. Thank you for sharing your ideas!

  7. Perseverance is one of my favorite topics to tackle. Never knew Babe was a interesting!

    Such an important point you make about nurturing. Regardless of the test score at the end of the year, isn't it most important that we nurtured a gift inside a student or two?

  8. Wow! I didn't know his growing up story!