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[January 17th] -- I'll be gone from my computer most of the day -- it's my first day teaching at our local high school and it's time to play grownup. Off goes the jeans and t-shirt and on goes the suit and tie.

I'm not particularly enamored with the lesson plan, however. I'm teaching 9th grade history, and right now they are just beginning "The era of good feelings," not one of of my favorite times in American history. I can assure you though -- I'll figure a way to work baseball into the lecture at least two or three times.

In fact, baseball never strays far from me when I'm teaching. I walk around the classroom and hold in my hand a soft, squishy ball that looks just like a baseball. The only person who can talk is the one holding the baseball. If a student wants to ask a question or add to the class discussion, they have to raise their hand. I throw the ball towards them and once it's in their possession, they can talk. When they are done, it's thrown back to me. This accomplishes two things. First, the students know when they can and can't talk in the class, and they get a kick out of catching and throwing the ball. Even the quiet kids get into the act.

Though I've enjoyed returning to college, I'm ready to put my education to use. I thought that having a degree would make me smarter - even an intellectual, but nothing much changed in that regard. The main difference from me today and me four years ago is that I now have a more open mind. Four years ago, I thought I knew everything and was right about everything. Now, I appreciate other viewpoints and consider them before making a decision.

Between student loans and tuition costs, that may turn out to be a very expensive lesson.

Yes, but one well worth the money.

Wish me luck.

Morning update: Turns out I have an hour between classes so a bit of news to report. The Minnesota Twins have re-signed Matt LeCroy to a minor league contract that will be worth $500,000 if he makes the team. The Twins realized that LeCroy was a solid clubhouse guy and can give them a big bat off the bench against lefties. He can still, of course, do some designated hitting as well.

LeCroy was the right player in the wrong situation last year. After hitting .260-17-50 in 2005 - mostly as a DH - LeCroy was like a fish out of water in Washington. His defensive liabilities are what made him a DH in the first place, yet the Nationals planned to use him as a backup first-baseman and catcher. Catcher! We all remember what Frank Robinson was forced to do last summer after LeCroy allowed seven stolen bases by the 6th inning.

LeCroy would have made a decent right-handed bat in a firstbase platoon, but Nick Johnson hits lefties as well as he does right-handers, so the former Twim was limited to catching. He ended up hitting just .239 with a couple of home runs for the Nationals before being outrighted and ended up at 'AAA' New Orleans.

Matt LeCroy was one of my favorite players. I had hoped early in spring training that Jim Bowden would have traded Nick Johnson for pitching help and platooned Daryle Ward and LeCroy at first. The two of them would have easily hit 25 homers and drove in 90 runs (though the defense would certainly have suffered).

Don't blame LeCroy for his bad 2006 season. Blame the Nationals. It was the ol' "square peg in a round hole" scenario.

Good luck Farid! I am guessing this is your first day as a Teaching Professional (i.e. you are actually getting paid) versus student teaching. It must be a great feeling to finally get past all the School work and be able to apply all that you have learned to the real world. Back in 1992 I had taken all of the course work required for a degree in Secondary Education Math, then switched degrees to just Math (I even student taught for 8 weeks). I have been writing Software ever since. I imagine I will get back into teaching as I approach my 50's so I can break into a second career. I just took a slight detour along the way. I understand the challenges you will face and respect your decision to go into the Education field. I think it is a very underrated profession. I hope your first day went well.
Good luck, Farid. I teach college students, but sometimes I envy the teachers who get these kids earlier in their academic careers. I think that those teachers have the opportunity to impact their lives to a greater degree than I do by the time they get to college. And I don't get any chance to interact with the kids who don't go to college. I love teaching though. One of my former students gave me a coffe much that states, "Teachers make all other professions possible." It really is true!
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