Always Under Construction....

Teaching and Coaching

I guess it's only fair that I take part in this, as well. For a lot of you, what you are passionate about does not often get shown in school. That is kind of sad because I would really like to include more of what you like, in the class. It's great reading these wikis and getting to learn a little more about you.

I am one of the fortunate ones though. I get to do what I am passionate about almost every single day of my life. I've said it numerous times in class, and I'll say it again: I have the greatest job in the world. Teaching, in all its forms, is what I am most passionate about. It is what I spend most of my time trying to improve upon and learn more about. But, teaching is not just in the classroom. I absolutely love coaching, as well. I had a professor at Brock University who told me that, "Good teaching is good coaching, and good coaching is good teaching." Lorne Adams taught a course on becoming a teacher, that I will never forget. Today, he remains one of my favourite teachers, and one of the most passionate educators I know.


Speaking of Lorne, I might as well talk to you about a few teachers that have inspired me.

The first teacher is goes by the name of John Keating. Here's a clip of his work.John was played by Robin Williams and the clip is from the movie Dead Poets Society. What I liked about John Keating was that he challenged his students. He was an English teacher that made the students look at things from a different perspective and, through his passion, got them to enjoy poetry. He also challenged the way the school was run, and that ultimately got him fired.

The second fictional teacher would have to be Mr. Ryan from the movie Hoot, played by Jimmy Buffett. Now, I admit that I'm a bit biased as I am a Parrothead. However, Mr. Ryan helps his student Roy Eberhardt take on the antagonist in the movie and battle corruption and bad business practises. He provides the motivation for Roy to do what he feels is right and save the burrowing owls.

In Real Life
Another teacher who has had a great influence on me, this time a real one, was my grade nine and grade eleven science teacher, Mr. Jack Chambers, at Notre Dame in Welland. His passion for biology and ability to get to know his students really stuck with me. He made class fun and, if you showed the motivation, he would do whatever it took to make sure you understood the concepts. Mr. Chambers retired the year after I had him as a teacher.

Finally, Professor Don Ursino was one of the best lecturers at Brock. He would keep us entertained while teaching us about biology. He, like Mr. Chambers, was caring and only wanted the best for his students. I was fortunate to have him as a teacher, as our class was the last one he ever taught at Brock. Looking back on it, my two most influential teachers retired shortly after having me in their class. That's not a good sign. :)


Teaching and coaching are so similar, it's no surprise that I love it, as well. There is something awesome about seeing a person work hard to improve and then succeed at it. It is hard to explain how great it is to see a team come together and overcome adversity. Again, I've been fortunate to be a part of a few winning teams growing up, had some individual success in sports, and most importantly, coached some fantastic athletes over the years. From soccer, to basketball, and track, I absolutely love coaching. Seeing the look on an athlete's face as they smash a personal best, or set a record, is priceless.

Continued Learning

In order to remain good at something, one must always strive to be better. When it comes to teaching and coaching, I am always learning how to become better. My favourite sources of learning are from a good book on the topic, or through the web. Just recently, I took a course to get my Level 1 Coaching Certification in track and field. I have spent much time reading blogs on teaching, coaching, and all aspects of learning. Youtube is a wealth of information when it comes to coaching. Look up any sport, and there will be hours of video analysis:


Books have also been a big source of learning for me as well. For track, the USA Track and Field Coaching Manual has been a most valuable resource. It covers all aspects of every single track and field sport. The more I read this book, the better I am at coaching the various sports. When it comes to teaching, there are several books that I have read over the years to help shape my teaching. Spencer Kagan's Cooperative Learning, Alfie Kohn's The Case Against Standardized Testing and The Homework Myth, were great reads as well as anything from Marilyn Burns or Cathy Fosnot on teaching math. Like any activity, the more you learn and the more you read, the better off you will be.

Last thoughts

Finally, the biggest joy I get out of this teaching/coaching passion is being able to motivate people. There is no greater sense of accomplishment than when I can see someone motivated to do something. I've had a few students say that they've discovered a love of reading in the class, or gave up their own time to really understand a new concept, or got to know a person in the class a little better this year, or even tried a sport, and were successful, and didn't know they had the talent for it. For me, that's the ultimate in job satisfaction! And to think, I'm actually getting paid for this! :)


Mr. R.