Schooling on the Field: Teachers who Coach


Mia Hahn, Staff Editor

Many of Lake Shore’s best coaches are the same teachers that students love to learn from. There are many overlaps in the qualities that make good teachers and the qualities that make the best coaches. Teachers who also moonlight as coaches after school are undoubtedly student favorites, but what aspects of coaching are best shown in Lake Shores’s teachers?

At first glance, it seems there would be some downsides to a teacher who coaches an after school sports program. Less time spent on their students could negatively impact what they’re learning in class. It would make sense that a teacher who spends all of their working time on school would have a better classroom environment than a teacher who divides their time between school and sports. Does the time spent on sports take time out of the classroom? Sherri Taormina, who teaches geometry, CFE, health, and also coaches Lake Shore’s cheer team says no. After spending 13 years as a Lake Shore teacher, and 17 years as a competitive cheer coach she has this to say on splitting her time. “When you are a teacher and coach it is all about being organized and keeping balance. I plan ahead for school and cheer, and use a lot of time at home and on the weekend to make sure I’m set for what is coming.” Being able to keep a clean divide between school and sports is essential to teachers who do both. Keeping a system and staying organized means that no student or athlete gets less than they deserve.

To coach a sports program allows for greater interaction with the students. Increased time spent with students puts teachers in a better position to relate to them more. Having to listen to more of the wacky slang Shorians use during coaching lets teachers in on a little piece of the youth’s culture they miss out on normally. Getting to know the students more means the teachers can tailor their educating styles to fit their classroom. One of the most difficult aspects of teaching is being able to truly relate to and connect with the students. The teachers best at doing this, are the ones with the most experience. It’s a no-brainer as to why teachers who coach are so often student favorites.

There can be many lessons from the playing field that can translate into an everyday classroom environment. This is the biggest advantage teachers who coach have over teachers who don’t. Coaches can expand on lessons learned by their athletes on the field to their students in the classroom. Taormina said, “The biggest overlap as a teacher and coach is the genuine desire and message we try to instill for young adults to make good decisions for their health and well being, to be good people”. These valuable lessons are just as essential to a student’s career as the lifelong education they learn alongside it.

There are obvious benefits to having a teacher who coaches on the side. Having a coach teach their students not only what is on the test next week, but also what they’re going to need to know for the rest of their lives, is an irreplaceable learning experience that Lake Shore students might not find anywhere else. Most of the lessons that students take out of their high school experience aren’t the ones they learned cramming the night before the final. Teachers who have that added benefit of coaching have more of the experience to give students the lifelong lessons they’ll truly benefit from in the long term. Just be glad they can’t make you run laps for screwing around in class.