The Lion's Tale

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Teachers balance coursework with coaching

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Science teacher and boys varsity volleyball coach Ray Hodges congratulates players following their junior night win against Trinity.  Hodges is one of eleven teachers who coached a school sports team this year.

Science teacher and boys varsity volleyball coach Ray Hodges congratulates players following their junior night win against Trinity. Hodges is one of eleven teachers who coached a school sports team this year.

photo courtesy of Dimensions Yearbook Staff

photo courtesy of Dimensions Yearbook Staff

Science teacher and boys varsity volleyball coach Ray Hodges congratulates players following their junior night win against Trinity. Hodges is one of eleven teachers who coached a school sports team this year.

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When the bell rings at 3:45 p.m., the school day is not over for English Department Chair and varsity softball coach Thomas Worden. He grabs his bats and gloves and heads outside to the softball field to do throwing, fielding and batting drills with the CESJDS varsity softball team.

Along with the many responsibilities that come with being a teacher, such as writing lesson plans and grading tests, eleven teachers in the 2017-2018 school year opted to take on the extra responsibility of being a coach.

To become a coach, teachers are either sought out by the school’s athletic director or they reach out themselves. When a teacher first begins working at JDS, they are asked if they have any interest in coaching. If a coaching position opens up, the athletic department will offer the position to any teacher interested in coaching for that sport.

According to Health and Exercise Science Department Chair Steven Forestieri, teachers are preferable for coaching jobs, rather than outside of school coaches, because they already have a relationship with the students. They are also able to make sure that the athletes are keeping up academically.

Worden has enjoyed the experience of being both a coach and a teacher, particularly because it has allowed him to get a better sense of his students as a whole. He likes being able to get to know them beyond the classroom and see the differences in their behavior in school and on the field.

Freshman Sophie Shrock has science teacher Kelly Grosskurth as both a track and field coach and a biology teacher. Like Worden, Shrock believes there are benefits to having her teacher as her coach.

“I think it is good [to have your teacher as a coach] because you spend a lot of time with that teacher and coach and you build a good relationship with them which helps both in class and on the team,” Shrock said.

One of the downsides to having teachers coach is that they miss instructional time when they have to travel for games. Often, teams have to leave school early and can miss up to two class periods. Coaches have to miss class and find a substitute, which can be challenging.

While balancing coaching and teaching can be difficult for some educators, their work eventually pays off.

“Coaching is a form of teaching,” Forestieri said. “It is just a different platform that is used to educate and help students become better people and build character and character traits within them that are going to help them succeed in whatever they try to pursue in life.”

This story was featured in the Volume 35, Issue 6 print edition of The Lion’s Tale, published on May 30, 2018.

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