One of the hardest things I am finding about teaching is interacting with a student (or students) and getting so frustrated at their attitude or lack of effort or whatever only to realize (often in the moment) that I was just like that when I was in school. In the religious studies department, we are always talking about the role of a person’s worldview to shape one’s perspective. Becoming a teacher has definitely shifted my perspective and is making me rethink a lot of what happened in high school.
For example, I still remember this terrible basketball coach we had sophomore year. She would get so mad whenever we would ask questions about how to do the drill or run the play and we never understood. Looking back, I thought I was so much smarter than her, knew how to play basketball better than her. Now as a soccer coach we have a couple girls who are always asking questions. Why do we have to run six laps? How far is that? What’s the purpose of this drill? There’s a part of you that wants to say because I’m your coach and I said so, but you swallow your pride, take the student aside and explain the drill and encourage them to watch their tone. Because now I identify with my high school basketball coach. Who knows if behind my soccer players’ whys are feelings of superiority, like there were behind many of my whys. Perhaps she really is confused and I and the other coaches are too sensitive. Either way it is hard to be questioned, especially when you already feel out of your element, coaching a sport you haven’t played in 10 years.
It’s also making me think really hard about how I can respond graciously because I had a lot of teacher throughout the years that I talked back to or made mean comments about. And the good ones, held their tongues and continued to teach me, not just about the game or the subject, but about how to be a better person. Even though what I told my soccer play today she may not have liked hearing, I hope underneath all that she heard what matters most, that I want her to succeed.