So, How Many Hats Do You Wear?

My photo
Pensacola, Florida, United States
Husband. *Dog Dad.* Instructional Systems Specialist. Runner. (Swim-challenged) Triathlete (on hiatus). USATF LDR Surveyor. USAT (Elite Rules) CRO/2, NTO/1. RRCA Rep., FL (North). Observer Of The Human Condition.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

No Inner Child Left Behind

There are a number of careers I've considered...after I retire from the one which pays the overwhelming majority of my bills. Frankly, none of them have to do with (making a living in) education or coaching. I have many friends who spent the vast majority or entirety of their careers in the K-12 realm, many of them asked the rhetorical 'why in heaven's name would you want to go into teaching?' question during the years I spent in undergrad study. Naturally, I provided the wide-eyed true believer, Christa McAuliffe "I wanna make a positive influence on the future" answer.
But I could really see the handwriting (spray-painted, probably!) on the wall, as did my professors. I was vehemently opposed to standardized testing even during my undergrad time, which was reinforced by my self-imposed reading regimen of books like Joseph Sacks' Standardized Minds, as well as the raft of Maxine Greene, Paulo Freire, Ira Shor, & John Dewey articles/books willingly loaned to me by my professors. It never made sense that a person who taught for six hours a day, then worked an additional three to six hours a day, should be judged on their ability to make a positive influence on learners who they might worked with for two hours a day (in the case of middle/high school teachers).
It kind of feels like being a coach of adult runners. I can work with a person for 90 minutes a day, three-to-five days a week (depending on the schedule & their interest), but I'll never have the complete control over the other 160-plus hours which are taken up by their rest, real employment, home life & need for something that appears to be a normal social life. So, if the runner is doing well at races & achieving their personal goals, I cannot help but be pleased. If they're not doing well, & unwilling to make changes because it doesn't fit what they want to do with the rest of their life, I probably (in a perfect world) should not be looked upon as a bad coach.

That's another good reason for me to not deal with youth runners. I work with young adults fresh out of high school now, & the only difference between their 17-to-22-year-old intellect (which probably differs little from that of my nephew who did NOT graduate from a "little technical college on the banks of the Severn River") & my intellect when I was their age...I think I was a little less stoopid. Well, maybe not stoopid, but maybe less derisive of my elders. Ah, but I digress.
When you're dealing with - coaching - youth runners, you often (unlike the middle/high school History teacher I aspired to be) deal with a second wanna-be athlete, living vicariously through the accomplishments of young Johnny/Susie. They want instant, unparalleled success worse than their kid does. Truth. Admit it. How many times have you seen the "my kid is a..." bumper sticker on the back of the car? I realize it's not just a thing which lasts through elementary school (my father tells stories about the latest run or triathlon I've completed every so often, too...), but I think the little league parent syndrome is more common between ages 5 & 25.

You could be deeply involved in the training of a kid, & the parent is asking the opinion of another coach. Personally, it would drive me up the wall. Kind of like bringing a barista into the local coffee shop with you, and asking them what they would do to make the cappuccino you just sweated bullets over better. Come a little closer to this little steam nozzle & I'll make you another one. How 'bout that?Besides, the day coachiing looks, feels, smells, acts, or tastes like work is the day I get the hell away from it.

No comments: