As we move back into our teaching/coaching roles with the start of another school year, it is appropriate to look back, but we must be prepared to move forward. For many, these last few years have caused personal and professional challenges and undue stress for staff, students, and athletes. COVID has redefined educational/coaching practices and not for the ‘best’ . . .
Educational testing is just now yielding data on student drop in performance in reading and math scores. Conflict in/out of the classroom and in the sports arena is illustrated daily in the news. Yet, as it has been done for many years, the educational pendulum swings back and forth. And, as teachers/coaches, we look forward to a new school year with enthusiasm and with the hope of everyone reaching their full potential.
Within the recent education ‘best practices,’ educators are striving to integrate curriculum, offer SEL experiences, and provide for student/staff positive mental health while teaching specifics of their subject or sport using professional standards/methodology to guide them in their endeavors. Having taught/coached for over fifty years while also maintaining professional membership (HPE) at my state, district; national levels, I would offer the following advice:
‘Involvement is Key
Join your state and beyond HPE associations. Membership will afford you current conceptual knowledge, and collegial networking and presents avenues for participation and leadership. It offers a base to grow professionally within a safe environment where even the occasional failure yields learning. HPE membership allows one to ‘catch the energy’ and share enthusiasm for teaching/coaching.
Take a Risk
Once individuals become members of their respective associations, move forward. Invest in others and take the risk to connect. In doing so, one most often gains way more than they have ventured. Don’t wait to be asked, step forward and volunteer to help or lead via assuming the role of association officer. Risk Taking depends upon Passion, Purpose, Principle, and Prerogative.
Collaborate and Cooperate
Work together, support others, and don’t worry about who will be given the credit for a successful endeavor. Take the attitude of NIKE (Just Do It) and add to it (Because It is the Right Thing to Do). Cori Doerrfeld, in her book and recent YouTube segment, talks about the ‘rabbit who listens.’ Look up this engaging SEL piece and then strive to ‘Be the Rabbit who LISTENS.’
Offer ‘Thanks’ and Gratitude to Others
Never forget that one who is successful does not accomplish alone. Be purposeful and intentional when giving ‘thanks.’ A favorite quote of mine by Melody Beattie goes like this: “Gratitude turns what we have into enough and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion, into clarity…It makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
Unfortunately, I have no empirical research data to support my previously listed suggestions, but I base ‘my thoughts upon years of practical experience and the support of many professional colleagues across many states and the positive interactions with them. Therefore, I suggest readers implement some or all of the above during this new school year. It is my hope the process of doing so will positively impact both the lives of your students/athletes along with your own. Go forward and ‘Live Your Passion.’