Student Well-Being

NBCT Offers Lessons Teachers Can Learn From Football Coaches

By Bryan Toporek — September 17, 2012 1 min read
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As I’m busy gloating about the Philadelphia Eagles’ win over the Baltimore Ravens to a Web team colleague today, I wanted to link back to a First Person piece posted over on EdWeekTeacher last week about what lessons teachers could learn from football coaches.

Kevin Mixon, a National Board-certified teacher, says that both great football coaches and great teachers make use of relevant statistical data to inform their game- or lesson-planning. Much like football coaches, teachers can also benefit from repeatedly practicing techniques and routines.

I won’t give away everything here, but some of the similarities are uncanny.

During football games, the spectators often focus on the showy, superstar players, even though consistent winning is a result of skill mastery by offensive linemen and other often unheralded players. Similarly, some teachers mistakenly gauge classwide competence merely by responses given by the star students who always eagerly raise their hands. By contrast, great teachers, like their coaching counterparts, employ a system whereby the competence and contribution of every single student is measured and improved."

Now, of course, teaching an academic subject and coaching student-athletes to play football are two very separate experiences. Mixon isn’t suggesting that you can throw Joe English Teacher onto the gridiron and have him look like the next Mike Ditka in no time.

Instead, he’s simply highlighting the ways in which both professions contain similarities, especially in the ways that each prepares for his or her work.

Be sure to check out the whole piece over on EdWeekTeacher while your brain recovers from this past weekend’s slate of football games.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Schooled in Sports blog.