Teacherscribe’s Teaching Tip #27
This is frightening for many of us because of how we were taught. Most of us Gen Xers – and certainly the Baby Boomers – were not coached at all. We were taught. And I bet the teaching looked a lot like this – notes with the teacher up front and everyone quiet and taking notes (or if you were like me tuned out and doodling or trying to read my Stephen King book instead).
So if we are going to coach our students, what kind of coach will we be?
Transactional or Transformational?
Transactional. You know this type of coach. They focus little on team building. They focus on winning above all else (including team building and culture and sportsmanship). For these coaches, coaching is really about reliving their old glory days. These are the types of coaches who, as players and, unfortunately, people, their lives peeked in high school. They don’t focus so much on building a program or changing or being flexible. They tend to coach the same year over and over and over. Instead of tweaking their systems or programs to fit the talent, they coach the same year over and over just hoping that the players will one day be good enough to win the conference title or go to state (as opposed to improving the program to actually win).
I would suggest avoiding these coaches/teachers like the plague.
But to be brutally honest here, this is exactly how I was as both a young coach and teacher.
As a teacher, I was first concerned with impressing the students with how much I knew and all of my accomplishments in college. (like they cared!) I recall reading the teacher’s guide for A Separate Peace several times and crafting complex notes that highlighted the story’s symbolism. This was all done to impress the students with all I knew (which was just what I pilfered from the teacher’s guide). I didn’t care about connecting the text to their lives or how it might impact them or even prepare them for college or the work place.
Needless to say, I didn’t even know the meaning of classroom atmosphere or culture.
I was stuck in the trap of teaching the same year, year after year. (At least until I left to go to grad school.)
I was a transactional teacher through and through.
So avoid these hallmarks at all costs –
• Relives glory days through youth practices and games, which highlight the coach’s achievements
• Participates in youth practices and drills as a means to show off, rather than playing to the skill level of the children
• Blatant or subtle disregard for organizational rules and/or the safety and health of athletes
• Shows disrespect to athletes, parents, other teams, other coaches, and officials
• Identifies the team’s wins or losses with his or her own self worth
• Punishes athletes when the team does not win or if the team makes mistakes
• Rewards good performance with playing time, keeping the win in mind. In other words, the best player plays, whether or not he or she is a good sport, attends practices, is a team player, has integrity, etc.
• Shows favoritism, while belittling other athletes
• Does not speak to parents, does not seek help from team parents, or refuses help from team parents