A Nervous Coach/Teacher

I have high expectations for the players and teams I coach, the execution of the fundamentals that we try to teach them and the intangibles of the game (hustle, intensity, encouragement, teamwork). Thus, my nervousness when I’m not there.

This time my absence is due to to the urgency for Carol and me to get back to Michigan for the funeral of our dear friend, Janet Smith. But it also means entrusting my rambunctious group of 57 eighth-graders to my friend, Ron McKinney. Ron has 35 years of experience behind him, so there isn’t much he hasn’t already seen or dealt with. Still, I get nervous. It’s like a parent hoping for encouragement in regards to their child as they sit down at parent-teacher conferences. We fear that we will hear things like: “Except for that unfortunate firecracker in the urinal incident, Johnny has been not made any more decisions that required the summoning of law enforcement.”

I tell my students that I expect exemplary behavior and a vast majority of them are awesome and on-task, but there always seems to be a couple of problem children who cause me to grind my teeth when I AM there, and make me worry about what they might be doing when I’m not there.

Call me a “helicopter teacher”, except my students DO make blunders and take trips to the land of the ludicrous and looney! Speaking of helicopters, I’m writing this as we await our flight to Detroit, a delayed flight which gives me more time to imagine scenes from Kindergarten Cop happening in my classroom, paper airplanes sailing past Ron McKinney’s head and someone grabbing another student’s laptop and running away with it.

Lord, help me to believe that the classroom will still be there on Monday…and Ron will still be my friend! Amen!

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