I’m a day late on the “Slice of Life” Tuesday challenge from Two Writing Teachers, but that’s ok because it seems like I’ve been off for a while now on a lot of things.

Yesterday, yesterday was an awful day. I managed to pick a fight with both my wife AND daughter, which proceeded into those two fighting. My plans fell apart in class. My dog ran away and my truck broke down too (0k, not the last two, because if that were the case, I’d have a country music mega-hit on my hands!). But to top off the day, I had a student come to me saying girls weren’t going to come out for basketball because of my coaching style.


A little background, I’ve been coaching jr. high girls basketball forever, well, 17 of 22 years of teaching. I coached a year of varsity basketball in when we live in Alaska, but after that, it’s been this level. My way of coaching, you are in middle school, you are putting in the time and the effort, you are getting on the floor to play. I’ve lost games because the team on the floor wasn’t the best team I’ve had, but that’s how it goes. Equal playing time for the first quarter of the season and after those first games, we start the shifting away, playing top 5 – 8 girls more. However, everyone sees the floor at some point in the game, regardless of your skill level. As I write in my note to parents, this may be the last time some of the girls play basketball like this, and it’s my job to both build a team for high school, but to also make sure ALL are enjoying the sport. Well, apparently this style of coaching isn’t always appreciated, not that any person has talked to me at all. But I had a couple of questions for the person who’s in charge of scheduling, so asked about what she thought of this playing style and how I go about dealing with this, if at all.

The response was several paragraphs, both comical and insightful, but the last few sentences are what inspired this blog:

I realize you asked a question and got a thesis in return.  I just want you to know I know exactly why neither one of us is sleeping at night.  We have the sometime impossible job of finding a “perfect answer” in an imperfect world.
Breathe and enjoy the day – My activities room door sticks, but I am here to help!
This is why I love where I work. When you teach at a place for as long as I have, the people around you are more than just c0-workers, they become family. As I go down our hallway, we celebrate and mourn all the “stuff” that is what our lives are all about. I knew emailing this person would give me good thoughts to ponder about basketball, but it would also give me just good thoughts to ponder about life and I appreciate that. I appreciate the fact she tells it as it is because sometimes, that’s just what we need to hear. We trust each other enough to be open and honest, and that’s what makes this place what it is, the community of educators, period. From teachers, to cooks, to coaches, to paraprofessionals, to janitors, the community that is in place is one that’s been built and grown long before I got here, and hopefully long after I’m gone.
My thoughts for you, my eight readers (another one signed up by accident): find that community. Find that place where you feel at home, where you feel tied not just by work, but by life. And when you find that place, nurture it, and watch the community grow around you. I’ve written about T.I.N.A. meetings (Teachers In Need of Assistance). This is one of the things I’ve not been able to do because Fridays have been taken with football games and other family stuff. I need to call one of these meetings because this builds community.
And the more we learn and care about each other during the good times, the more supportive we can be to each other when times get tough.