Teachers dedicate time to students


Teachers already put an immense amount of time into their jobs, but believe it or not, many teachers put even more time into coaching a sport at GBHS.

“All teachers need to do something else for the school, at least you should,” freshman football coach, track and field coach, and AP European History teacher, Mike Valentine said.

“(It can be) some committee or academic committee, something outside of school,” Valentine said. “I wanted to do that but I wanted to do that through coaching,”

Valentine isn’t the only teacher who has taken on coaching as well. A number of teachers double as a coach and teacher.

GBHS health and safety teacher, John MacLeane, also coaches varsity boys’ water polo. Angela Pozzi teaches 9th Grade Physical Education as well as coaches Cross Country and Track and Field. John Sherman teaches Integrated Math 1 and 2 and coaches Boys and Girls Swimming. Stephen Smith teaches Martial Arts, 9th and 10th Grade Physical Education, and coaches Varsity Football and Junior Varsity Girl’s Basketball.

All of these teachers started coaching at the same time they started teaching, adding an extra responsibility to their plate.

“I coached here from the first day I started teaching but it was originally water polo and swimming. Working with high school students is my passion and math and aquatics are my avenues to do so,” Sherman said.

Valentine started coaching football as early as he was a student-teacher and has now been coaching football for 22 years and track for even longer.

Honors and CP Chemistry teacher, Damien Lawrence, is also an assistant coach for Varsity Boys Water Polo, but didn’t start coaching till after he had been teaching for awhile.

“I remember reffing GB water polo for years before I came to teach here. When I was no longer scheduled to be an IB teacher, volunteering to coach was an easy decision,” Lawrence said.
Already putting in a full school day’s worth of time plus the amount of time it takes to grade, create lesson plans, etc., the teachers who double as coaches, put even more time into helping high school students.

Sherman spends 45 hours a week coaching during the fall, which is just the off season for swim and teaches everyday from 7-3:30 which adds up to 40 hours a week.
During the swim season, Sherman is on campus teaching and coaching from 5 AM to 5 PM every day, and sometimes he doesn’t leave until 8 PM. Along with this, he spends a lot of his weekends traveling with the team.

Pozzi can spend 6-14 hours coaching on race days alone.

MacLeane also puts a huge amount of time into coaching, especially when water polo is in season.

“During the season I probably put more time into coaching than teaching. Sometimes coaching can be a 10-12 hour day,” MacLeane said.

Teacher coaches don’t just sacrifice time during the season of their sport, but they spend time coaching during summer and the off season as well.

“You’re attending clinics in the off season, beginning in January, and then you have spring football and you have summer football and then in the fall, you’re going the whole time,” Smith said.

With the extreme amount of time teachers put into teaching and the additional time they spend coaching, which can sometimes be more than the time they spend teaching, it’s important that they prioritize and manage their time well.

Some teacher coaches have even been given help by other teachers and administrators in managing their time.

Sherman used to teach Athletic PE during his prep period which meant he would have to find another time to do his prep period work, which he usually did during his lunch, before school, and at night after his kids went to bed.

However, this year, he has been given a prep period.

“This year, Jennifer Leighton and Tim Healy, with the help from my department and Lisa Vaughan, were able to give me a section of Athletic PE so I will actually have prep time in my schedule AND I’m super pumped and grateful for that,” Sherman said.

With the immense amount of time teachers put into teaching and teacher coaches put into coaching, it can become stressful and it’s important that teacher coaches remember the reason they participate in both.

“I truly believe people need balance in their life,” Lawrence said. “Academics alone do not provide young adults with exposure to the multitude of life skills that will be necessary in their future. Many of the qualities I possess that have helped me succeed in life were not learned in the classroom but rather on decks and on the fields of athletics.”

Sherman has a business degree and originally planned to be a pharmaceutical sales rep, but he enjoyed working with high school students more.

“My passion has always been working with high school students and passion is more important than making money,” Sherman said.

Along with having the ability to pursue both passions for coaching and teaching, teacher coaches are able to develop relationships not only with their students, but with their players as well.

“Football, I told my freshmen who I just finished with, ‘You guys now made it into the club, forever, you’re my guys,’” Valentine said.

Although teachers, coaches, and teachers who are also coaches must dedicate a lot of time to their jobs and it can often be tiring and stressful, they enjoy it.

“If I didn’t love it, I wouldn’t do it,” Smith said.