For one educator, baseball and learning make an educational metaphor. Joey Baud teaches kindergarten at Je-Neir Elementary, here in Momence. To know about his dedication and drive to shape (and be shaped) by the youngsters in his classroom, is also to know that Joey Baud sees a good deal of his vocation as a teacher through the lens of baseball. A good deal of education takes place on a team, as it were, and the backand-forth between the team members (his students and himself), has made Joey Baud an effective and open educator, one that Momence can be truly proud of, as proud as a hometown hero who returns with a major league home run record. That’s because Joey knocks it out of the park when it comes to his verve and dedication to his students.
BY RAPHAEL MAURICE
The metaphor between baseball and learning isn’t just a loose one. Baud played high school baseball and still meets up with former teammates for games on the ballfield. When asked about the link between the diamond and the classroom, Joey notes: “The number one thing for me is collaboration. No matter where you work, you’re going to work with a team of people.” His team, while they may be in a place of learning, has found themselves at the direction of a wonderful ‘coach,’ and Joey takes this calling very seriously. The town (and our nation) are bettered by the fact that educators have Baud have agreed to coach our teams.
Momence might be surrounded by cornfields, but it’s barely a stone’s throw to Bradley, Bourbonnais, Kankakee, and just a mere hour or so to the bustle of Chicago. We’re fortunate that Momence is so diverse and this cultural diversity manifests in the students Baud is fortunate enough to teach within the classroom. His team isn’t just what we’d expect in a rural Illinois community; it’s better Because Baud teaches and learns from a variety of students, and it’s clear that he loves the richness of the folks around him: “So for me, I get to learn a lot from them. And then once I learn from them, I can teach others that it may not be this class teaching this class, but it may be a previous class teaching another class five years down the road. And I take all that and I try to involve our families.”
We often think of the classroom as separate from the home, the family. For Baud, teaching and family life are necessarily integrated, and work together as another sort of team. The students in his kindergarten class come at the beginning of each school year as “blank slates,” as Baud notes. They need to learn what it is to be a part of a team, from lining up to learning how to learn, and Baud sees to it that his students gain these skills in collaboration and teamwork.
After going to college and student teaching, Baud came back to Momence to make a difference. The staff and administrators at Momence make another team, a collective resource that Baud can rely upon to guide and help him in a profound way. Joey Baud takes certain lessons and ideas from the folks around him, and then shapes those for his own use and for the benefit of his own students. Just like one might admire and imitate the pitching or batting stance of a MLB ball player, Baud takes what he can from what’s around him, and then makes those stances and hitting techniques his own. Originality arises from imitation and homage, to go on to make something that’s truly ours. Mr. Joey Baud, an educator and steward for our community and our kids—HIS community and kids—is a one-of-a-kind educator, a man who’s making a genuine difference in the outcomes and lives of his students and the families around him. Momence is lucky to welcome him back home.