Future Learning Essay
To the Future and Beyond
“Never let fear decide your future.”– Anonymous
Back in 2015, I was in the world of collegiate coaching, working at that I thought was my “Dream Job.” Indeed, I always envisioned myself working at a top Division I school, but for some reason, I just wasn’t enjoying it as much as I once had. When I started my coaching career, I aspired to impact and mold young lives, leave my mark on the game of lacrosse, and ultimately become a head coach somewhere along the way. After only five years, however, I lost that passion and drive. Suddenly, it was more of a burden than an excitement. I dreaded the recruiting trips, the 24/7 email and even the practices some time. I needed a change, but I also knew I didn’t have a job to go to or really what that job might even be. So, I took a leap of faith into the unknown and quit my job.
Despite my fear of the unknown, I slowly landed on my feet. I took on a high school coaching opportunity to pass the time, and that ultimately landed me at the lower school in a physical education (PE) role for 1st grade. Almost five years later, and I’m a full time PE teacher working in grades K-4, while still coaching at the high school and middle school level. Instead of dreading every day, I’m excited to take on the challenges that lay ahead of me.
Initially, I must admit I felt unqualified to teach. I enjoyed it so much, however, that I decided to attend Michigan State University and pursue a Master’s of Arts in Education (MAED). Attending graduate school has truly impacted my skills as both a teacher and a coach. The classes that I took allowed me to experiment with different philosophies while simultaneously understanding the history and future of teaching and coaching alike. I consider myself to be super fortunate to undertake such an opportunity, but I know it cannot be the end of my story. Indeed, moving forward, I never want to stop learning. In fact, I have three learning goals I’d like to accomplish over the next 5 years:
Visit One School Each Year
Review and Listen to All Rob Gray Podcasts
Attend a Joey Feith Conference
Visit One School
My first goal of visiting one school each year is important to me for several reasons. Perhaps one of the greatest values of visiting another school is that there is an opportunity to learn from others. While there is no doubt that I learned information and techniques from my professors, I found that I learned a lot simply from the interaction with my peers. Understanding this, I believe continuing my education through classroom observations and discussions can and will take me to be a better teacher. I also believe that with the help of the educational community, I will discover different environments and perhaps perspectives that I never considered prior, not just techniques and teaching methods.
My second goal seems simple, but listening to all of Rob Gray’s podcasts may actually take me the whole 5 years. Gray is important to my future education because he is continually researching and investigating the most up to date coaching methods. While he helped shape many of my beliefs throughout my graduate school education, his podcasts continually challenge my perspective on the field and in the classroom. I also believe that this goal is important because it’s fun. Not to say that visiting another classroom or going to a convention isn’t fun, but this is something that I can do on my drives or while I have some spare time that doesn’t feel like work. I know all too well the effects of burnout, so this is an important goal to further my education.
Finally, I’d like to attend a Joey Feith presentation. Feith is a Canadian elementary PE teacher who explains different lesson plans on YouTube. His explanations and graphics are amazing, and I’ve adopted several of his games in my classes. While he does not present often, I think within the next 5 years I could make it to a presentation or ask my school to help get him here to present (or locally). This goal is similar to my first goal, however, I like the idea of spending more time in a working or professional growth mindset rather than watching a teacher instruct. As such, there are more opportunities to ask questions, see more and bounce around from ideas that you wouldn’t normally be able to do in a classroom setting (albeit, there are no kids to see how they react, either).
An example of Joey Feith’s online teaching
Overall, I believe that these three goals are not only attainable but will lead me to be a better teacher and coach. I realize that not every day can be spent in the books or viewing lectures like I did in graduate school, but it is my hope that I have the tools to continue my education. As a coach and a teacher, I’ve found that it’s important to find mentors who inspire you and peers who will lead you to new ideas. These goals capitalize on that belief, and I can’t wait to see where they take me!