300 Words on Balance

I grew up reading a sports writer in the Kansas City Star named Joe Posnanski. If you're a sports fan in Kansas City who is at least 25 years old, you're probably a fan. For years he and Jason Whitlock formed this weird team of sports writers who mixed intellect (Whitlock has much more than he's given credit for), artistry (Posnanski can truly paint a picture with words) and story-telling. It was beautiful and brilliant and, for those of you who know Jason Whitlock, often inflammatory.

JoePo has moved on and now writes for NBC Sports after a brief stint at SI.com, but I still read his personal blog regularly. Occasionally, JoePo will write a post titled 500 Words on... in which he briefly but poetically tells an awesome story. His most recent post like this was 500 Words on Ben Zobrist, who hit a sweet game-tying home run against the Reds on Tuesday night to prove once again that the 2015 Royals definitely stole the mithril armor from Frodo Baggins in the Lord of the Rings*...basically, we're unbeatable.

*Yeah, I took it to a Lord of the Rings reference. Don't judge me. Best trilogy ever.

So in honor of my childhood hero (in terms of sports writing; sorry JoePo, but you're not THAT good), I give you 300 words on Balance and a promise of more of these short posts to come in the future! I hope you enjoy! Why not 500, you ask? Because JoePo does this for a living and I have to be ready to teach teenagers in 9 hours.

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300 Words on Balance



I’ve got this new pull in my life – my daughter. You see, it’s not that I didn’t want to go home and see my wife before. It’s just that she was a little more independent then my daughter. She could see how much I loved to coach and host movie nights and watch performances. While she often joined me for things, she also often simply let me do what I love. My daughter, advanced though she may be, isn’t quite there yet!

Angela and I were talking the other day about how the movies portray teachers. It’s actually really frustrating. Nearly every story about a teacher shows the teacher going to extraordinary measures to inspire kids to, well, not hate school. It’s not that the kids in movies love school and learning forever; they just don’t hate school with this one teacher. 

The other part of this common story line is the struggle with family. In Freedom Writers, the couple ends up getting a divorce. In Mr.Holland’s Opus, there is an incredible strain on the marriage throughout the entire movie. In Lean on Me, we’re led to believe that the Principal has zero life outside of Eastside High. I could go on. 

What does that say about our system of education that in order to affect change, one must totally sacrifice family and personal well-being? How seriously has the system gone wrong if this kind of effort is seen as a legitimate solution to the problems that exist? If you think about these questions for a few minutes, you start to see why around 50% of teachers quit before they teach for 5 years.

With all that said, balance is my goal this year. I have a wonderful wife and an angelic daughter, and I plan to enjoy the hell out of my time with them, even if that cuts into my time spent at school. 

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Thanks for reading this blog! I hope you'll consider taking a moment to comment below and turn this into a conversation. Whether you are an educator or not, we have all had common experiences with education both good and bad. I want to hear what you think! 



About Me:
My name is Alec Chambers. I am a high school history and government teacher at a small, urban public school in Kansas City called Center High School. We regularly kick tail. Among many awards, we were named a National Blue Ribbon School in 2014. I don't just teach at Center- I also graduated from Center in 2006 after attending Center Schools K-12. I have a degree in Political Science, a second degree in International Relations, a third degree in Education and a Master's of Arts in Teaching. I have an unofficial degree is soccer. All of those degrees have led me to the high-paying teaching profession! I have a newborn daughter and am married to the most awesome woman on the planet. Seriously. It's a proven fact.

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