Considering the Time Demands, Should Beginning Physical Education Teachers Be Allowed to Coach?

JOPERD--The Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance, February 1997 | Go to article overview

Considering the Time Demands, Should Beginning Physical Education Teachers Be Allowed to Coach?


I must respond with a resounding YES! Qualification or competence to coach is not measured by the fact that one has little or no experience. I have known a few first year teachers/ coaches who were more qualified than others who had been teaching and coaching for fifteen years. Their qualification came with a nice mix of athletic playing experience, some form of coaching education certification, and a desire to be good role models for athletes. Often the "new guys on the block" are given every assignment they are willing to accept, and naturally, they want to accept as much as they can to impress their superiors and "make that great positive impact on the world." However, all first year teachers and coaches do have limits to what they can do.

Too often, those first year professionals are "thrown to the wolves," without receiving adequate assistance. It is the responsibility of the school administration to monitor the progress and provide ongoing supervision to assist first year teacher-coaches to develop habits of excellence. I also recommend a coaching mentor program, where first year coaches are linked with seasoned professionals to aid in their development.

We need to take advantage of the youthful enthusiasm new teachers/ coaches bring to the profession in a manner that will ensure a long, productive career in education!

--Dennis M. Docheff, professor in the Department of Physical Education, United States Military Academy, West Point, NY 10996.

The first-year physical education teacher brings an abundance of enthusiasm, energy, fresh ideas, and an endless desire to be included in the school setting. There is a good chance that this physical education teacher has participated in the sport or has volunteered to coach this sport in a youth league. School districts need to fill coaching positions with trained certified professionals and the initial look is to the physical education teacher. If this first-year teacher is the most qualified candidate and aspires to coach give him or her the opportunity. Most Physical educators organize their time well and give 110 percent to their tasks and responsibilities. This is a win-win situation.

-- Linda Myrick, elementary physical education district coordinator, Gadsden Independent School District, Anthony, NM 88021.

Yes! Even though there will always be considerable role conflict between teaching and coaching duties for those who choose to do both, I support the right of teacher/ coaches to make that choice.

Most beginning physical educators are attracted to the profession because of their interest in coaching. As they develop professionally, both interests should be satisfied. However, they need added counsel and support in order to successfully meet the challenges of both roles in order to develop fully as the teacher/coach professional.

-- Jerry Krause, professor of Sport Philosophy, United States Military Academy, West Point, NY 10996.

I suspect that significant numbers of students enter the discipline of physical education because of the attraction of coaching. Undoubtedly, the role of a beginning teacher of physical education is hugely time consuming, very exhausting, and challenging. However, at its very best, a coaching role will both complement and enrich the working day of a physical educator.

The notion of physical education teachers being prohibited from coaching is anathema to a discipline (physical education) in which quality teaching and coaching share much common ground. Both endeavors depend on intelligent preparation, commitment, and the search for excellence.

The Australian movie Gallipoli opens with a conversation between a track coach and the hero, Archie Hamilton. The coach calls out, "How fast are ya gonna run?" The reply from Hamilton is, "Fast as a leopard." However, at the conclusion of Gallipoli, Archie Hamilton is not engaged in a sporting contest but in a race of life and death on the battlefield. …

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Considering the Time Demands, Should Beginning Physical Education Teachers Be Allowed to Coach?
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