Had a mix of ups and downs this week. The upside is my middle school basketball team. They had their first game this past week and it gave them the confidence boost they sorely needed.
I have been doing my best to stay consistent, stay on top of them as an authority figure and coach, but it’s not easy. Most of them have never been on a sports team before so they don’t understand the concept of commitment yet. Being the one that has to teach them that is tough, but it’ll be worth it.
You know how you count aloud as a team during stretches? I’ve been trying to teach them that but their enthusiasm is lackluster. That’s okay, though. They don’t yet understand or appreciate the importance of stretches. They will when they’re all sore and stretching is the only thing that gives some relief lolz. We all go through this phase.
Well, when we started doing our warmups at another school, they got to see how loud and proud another school could be. I’d yelled over them one day, saying one person shouldn’t be louder than nine of them combined. They got a little louder but meh. I figured I was the wrong messenger for the message.
Tuesday should be interesting. We’ll see how much another team their age motivated them.
All that aside, I’ve also been trying to help the more experienced players have patience with the brand new ones. Patience is a huge challenge for kids at their age. Come game day, you could see it on their faces how nervous they were. The van ride was quiet. I asked them if they were nervous and told them it was normal to feel that way but they denied their deer-in-headlights looks.
As soon as the school bore into view around a turn, a couple declared they were going to lose horribly and that they had to be the worst team in the league. After the game they were nothing but smiling chatter boxes all the way home. They got to see they weren’t the only team with brand new players, and we almost beat the A team with just six players. We probably would’ve won with all 9.
The realization motivated my captain to push her inexperienced teammates out of their comfort zone, which was a huge 180 for her. In game two against the B team, every time she got the ball, she’d hand it off and make them dribble, pass, or shoot it themselves. The sight was any coach’s dream.
The truly rough part of the week was the wakeup call that I’m not doing as good a job at teaching as I’d thought. Yes, I’ve been fully aware that I’m a hair above clueless but there are a few professional procedures I’ve been neglecting.
I thought I’d been careful up to this point with my blog. I’d willingly shared it with one of my fellow teachers, who then shared it with our boss, who had the not-so-fun job of having to point out to me that some things I’d blogged about were borderline breach of conduct. I thought about not blogging about my journey as a teacher but, as a writer, I need the outlet. Good and bad times aside, it’s a cool journey. So, I’ll be more careful from here on out, along with tweak my angle of approach to stay well within the realm of professional conduct.
On top of the blogging blunders, I dropped the ball as a teacher. Instead of telling them no every five seconds and setting healthy boundaries, I’ve been trying to justify ways to say yes and taking more responsibilities upon myself that need to remain with the students.
For example, they’re allowed to bring food into class. Instead of making sure they throw away their own garbage, I walk around with a trash can and have them toss it in at the end of the day. If I’m not there, stuff gets left around everywhere. I should have simply revoked the privilege and encouraged them to change their own habits, instead of changing my own. I’ve since had to send only one student in the hallway eat his breakfast and have taken away the coffee station due to finding two teabags left in the drain.
The part where I’ve been making excuses to say yes to the students is probably where I have the biggest room for growth. I haven’t been creating healthy, clear boundaries, thus haven’t been building the trust and respect I need to be an effective teacher. I cried the other day when I realized this. However, when the truth sucks, you have to suck it up.
The silver lining in all this is, despite my mistakes, my boss believes I’m well worth the effort to help shape me into a quality teacher. I want respect and trust. I need to change some things to earn that. I will be constantly asking myself, “What will the student really learn if I tell them ‘no’? What will they really learn if I tell them ‘yes’? What do I need to teach them by telling them ‘no’?”
They’re not adults yet. They don’t know right from wrong yet. They’re just going to make decisions based upon what feels good at the time; not what will help them in the long run. They don’t yet know how to look into the future–at least not far enough. I do. It’s time to get my act together. Wish me luck, courage, and fortitude!
p.s. All the images in this particular blog post are, for once, not my own. They were found on the internet.