Of all the hair pulling, heart-wrenching and ultimately rewarding experiences I have had so far this year (and there have been many), few compare to the rollercoaster I experience in my role as one of Balga SHS’s Netball coaches. And so, to encourage those who may be feeling a tad apprehensive about getting involved in their school’s sporting community, I present my top five favourite parts about being involved with Balga’s sporting programs.
Relationships, Relationships, Relationships
The one piece of advice every teacher I have met since starting my teaching journey has given me, is that it’s all about relationships. The truth of this advice has become clearer to me after spending my afternoons, Monday evenings, and occasional weekends coaching students.
I have learnt more about my students and built stronger relationships with many of them than I ever could have in the classroom. By giving up a little of my time for them, they have responded by being their best selves whether in my classroom or someone else’s. I’ve had students go from glaring at me throughout the lesson, to sharing a joke with me – something I never would have thought could happen.
School Street Cred
The positive relationships I have built through netball are not limited to only those students who I coach. I have somehow managed to win over a whole chunk of students, simply because they know that I’m involved in a sport. I now find myself fist bumping year sevens as they walk down the hall, despite never having taught them, all because of my reputation with the netball girls.
Balga Senior High’s Woola Woola Koolangkas (Proud Proud Children in Nyoongar) are the best bunch of kids
Being Part of a Community
My school places a big emphasis on community and family – trying to make sure the students are able to engage with and feel part of a community in a positive way, as well as working to make the staff feel like family.
Nothing has made me feel more a part of the school community that getting involved in sport. From Monday night netball, to inter-school sports carnivals, to standing on the sideline cheering for the soccer team, I have learnt from my colleagues, built relationships with them, and have felt accepted into a truly amazing community.
Impromptu Parent/Teacher Conferences
Whilst the phrase Parent/Teacher conferences might send chills down the spines of parents, teachers and students alike, I found that any apprehension I had about this event was significantly reduced. Since I have had the opportunity to get to know parents and students at various sporting events, these meetings are more of a chance for a chat than anything.
Seeing parents on a regular basis allows me to get know both them and my students better. Coaching one sibling has allowed me to build a strong home connection with four of my students. If there’s outstanding homework, I know I can follow it up in person. If there’s fantastic progress, I can share the good news face-to-face.
Not to mention, kids are far quicker to toe the line when they know you’re on first name terms with their mum.
Wearing Track Pants to School
I’m not going to say my favourite part about teaching netball is that I get to wear track pants to school. But on a cold Perth morning, when I’m freezing my Queenslander toes off, it’s a pretty nice feeling. Plus, come yard duty time, I’m in the perfect attire for a spot of footy.
Or, in my case to attempt playing footy.
Are you involved with sports at your school? Why would you recommend it?