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Joanna Pullen

Seminar Activities
Getting Involved: Coaching

I am student teaching at Coal Ridge Middle School, but got a job at Mead High School as
a girls c-team basketball coach. Coal Ridge is a feeder school of Mead. I have played basketball
ever since I was in elementary school whether it was recreation, school, or intramural. I played
JV and C team in high school so am very excited to work with the c-team girls. I am taking a
leap of faith because I have never coached before but the other coaches said they would support
be as best I can. I look at it as student coaching! My goal is to not only be a coach but also a sort
of mentor to the girls who need it. So far I have attended and helped coach at an open gym, week
of mini camp sessions, and tryouts. Full practices and games start now! I coach C-team which
now has 12 girls - mostly freshman, a couple sophomores, and two foriegn exchange students
who are juniors.
My first big experience in this position was doing cuts after tryouts. It is very interesting
and very telling of personalities based on the girls’ reaction to what team they made or if they got
cut. It taught me that sometimes players have different expectations than you in terms of their
abilities. In some cases they did not have enough confidence in their abilities and in some cases
they thought they were better at something than they actually were. Another important
observation I made revolves around effort. The amount of effort a girl put into playing can tell a
plethora of things. The amount of effort a player gives can tell you that there is something going
on in their personal life, how much they care about what they are doing, how much sleep they
got, how engaged they are, and how challenged they are.
These observations I made are important in terms of application in the classroom. Just
like effort on the court, the amount of effort shown towards work in the classroom says a lot
about a student and what is going on in their life. It may tell us that they are not challenged or
engaged enough or it may tell us that they have no parental/guardian guidance at home
supporting them and urging them to learn. Every student comes with a book highlighting their
life, it is our job as teachers to outline their books and use that knowledge of their life
advantageously to help them learn. Being a coach has also emphasized the fact that as a teacher it
is important that I make connections to students’ interests outside of the classroom to improve
relationships and learning.