Teaching and coaching

Teaching has always been a difficult, strenuous job that requires countless hours of dedication from teachers to their students.

Some teachers manage teaching three classes a day and coaching a sports team at school. Why is it that the majority of coaches at Leesville do not teach, or, if they used to, no longer do?

“I can’t imagine being a sports coach on top of all of my responsibilities as a teacher. Coaches are here until 2:30 and then have practices that can last until 7 pm. I have two kids and papers to grade and students to tutor,” said Mr. Argao, science teacher.

Typically, new teachers take on a coaching job upon hire. Only a handful of teachers that have taught at Leesville for more than five years still continue to coach.

“Older teachers, like myself, can choose not to coach because we have worked here for a long time. New teachers sometimes feel like they have to prove themselves, but really I think they should be focusing on their teaching,” said Argao.

Some teachers at Leesville used to coach. They have quit for different reasons, but one factor remains the same: coaching and teaching was too much. Too much commitment and too much time.

Senora Sollie, Spanish teacher, used to coach varsity soccer and the cheerleading team at a school in Huntersville. She explained that because of the timing of the seasons, she was constantly coaching, and it had little effect on her teaching.

“I don’t think that my teaching has changed much since I left coaching.  My style of teaching has always been the same.  One of the things that has changed since I stopped coaching is that I have more time to grade papers and can get them back more quickly.  I’ve always tried to be organized as far as planning activities and also planning ahead whether I’m coaching or not.”

Ms. Reathaford, science teacher, is the cheerleading coach for both the JV and varsity teams at Leesville. Not only does she coach two teams, but she coaches them for two seasons.

“Coaching has taught me patience, which in turn has made me a better teacher. Trying to coordinate a group of people to carry out the vision I have for the team takes both time and structure. It also teaches you how to communicate your thoughts clearly and with precision. This skill is easily transported into the classroom,” said Reathaford.

Although coaching is time consuming and difficult, it is an opportunity for coaches to come together and form friendships they wouldn’t have otherwise.

“I, personally, feel that Leesville has the best coaches in the business. We dedicate countless hours of time towards working with kids both on and off the field. Not only do we want our kids to be good athletes, but it’s also important that they are good students. That takes time off the field in addition to the time spent during practices,” said Reathaford.

A handful of teachers at Leesville choose to teach and coach. Many of them stopped. Mrs. McGarry used to coach for Leesville’s varsity women’s tennis team but quit shortly after because it was overwhelming.

“I stopped coaching because I didn’t have time. It was too much to juggle teaching and coaching, and obviously one of them had to go. After I quit coaching women’s tennis I was able to devote more time to grading papers and making lesson plans,” said Mrs. McGarry, English teacher.

Perhaps teaching requires even more time from teachers now than it did in the past. The emphasis on education has intensified over the last decade. This added pressure to efficiently prepare students for state tests and thoroughly teach them the curriculum makes coaching and teaching a time commitment many teachers are unwilling take on.

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