Little Things

Tom Brady:

"I saw a great documentary this weekend on the airplane, it was called ... I don't even know how to pronounce his name ... it was this Japanese sushi chef that I would encourage you guys to see, it's really cool," he said. "But he's 85 years old and the only thing he ever wanted to do was make sushi. ... It was just his life-long commitment to being really great at what he loves to do. And he's 85 and still doing it, it's just amazing the commitment that it takes to do that.

"You think man, it's just simple, throwing a football or making a piece of sushi, how hard can that be?" Brady said. "When it's something that you just love to do, you think about it, you wake up in the night and think about my mechanics. I wake up in the middle of the night thinking about what I can do better: my foot stride and where my arm is and what I'm doing with the front side of the body. For some people it may be crazy to think that, but for me, that's just what I've always loved to do."

Veronica graduated from our Match Teacher Residency in July. Now she teaches math at Boston Prep. She was over at our house for dinner on Sunday. Beef stew, asparagus, and apple pie, if you were wondering.

Our 4-year-old had already tuckered himself out a few hours before, strenuously showing off karate and dance moves for our friends Ann and Paul. So he quietly read on the couch, and I had a chance to ask V about her rookie year of teaching.

V mentioned how much she loves her co-teacher, the warm vibe of the staff, and what she wears on dress-down days.

She also mentioned enjoying her coaching from my colleagues Randall and Orin. I asked for examples. V: "How to get kids to more carefully read the directions for a math problem."

This is classic "teacher nerd" stuff. Some academics and policymakers think it's crazy to carefully study little teacher moves like that -- irrelevant, perhaps even intellectually insulting.

But many teachers wake up in the middle of the night, like Brady, thinking about what they can do better. Little things.


"That's where my improvement -- I always seek my improvement from, is improving my mechanics so that every throw I make is absolutely perfect," he continued. "It's exactly where I wanted to throw the ball and exactly the amount of velocity I wanted to put on the ball. Those are the types of things that I think about in my off time. That's what I was meant to do."