Teachers find connections between sports and teaching

Bertina Xue, Arts layout editor

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PHOTO PROVIDED BY NICK ROTHSTEIN

Many students are involved in athletics at the high school. However, many teachers also participate in a physical activity routinely, ranging from boxing to soccer to running.

These teacher athletes find that there are many parallels between coaching, teaching and playing.

English teacher Nick Rothstein said that exercising helps him in the classroom.

“The more physically active I am, the more exercise I get, the more energy I have during the day, the better I feel in general, so I think it’s in all areas of life,” Rothstein said.

Rothstein said that teaching is a surprisingly physical endeavor.

“It’s a lot of walking around, a lot of energy you need in the classroom, so it’s not just emotionally and psychologically taxing, it’s physical,” Rothstein said. “When you’re in better shape, you teach better.”

English teacher Dave Mitchell said staying active is fun and that he has noticed that when he is more sedentary, he feels more tired.

“It’s good to have fun and blow off some steam and relieve stress in a healthy way,” Mitchell said. “I find that if I stay active and play sports and exercise, I have more energy. It doesn’t take away energy, it gives me more energy.”

According to physics teacher Elsbeth Leslie, running is a good way to keep exercising as an adult because it does not require a lot of preparation.

“Exercise is always important for balance in life and so anything that can keep you exercising as an adult is great,” Leslie said. “Running is easy because all you have to do is put on some shoes and get out the door; You don’t have to get to a gym and deal with all those obstacles.”

According to Mitchell, while watching the girls freshman soccer team, which he coaches, he frequently wishes that he could be playing himself.

“When I get frustrated because my team isn’t doing what I want them to be doing, I get to do it myself, so that’s fun, ” Mitchell said. “I can’t do anything except talk about it, so playing gives me a chance to go and actually play, which I find a lot more helpful than talking about it sometimes.”

According to Mitchell, playing sports is analogous to teaching in a classroom because it is crucial to listen to others.

“You have got to listen to a lot of different people everyday in class and also on the field and on the team.” Mitchell said. “People are coming from different places with all different concerns. You can’t be aware of what everyone is going through so that takes a lot of listening.”

Rothstein said another similarity between teaching and sports is the concept of scaffolding. Scaffolding, he said, is a teaching technique with which students build off of their previous skills to improve their learning. Teachers, in both academics and sports, need to understand these skills in order to teach effectively.

Leslie said that a lot of strategies to motivate students and runners transfer between each other.

“The root of it is people, running or in class, need to know they’re capable of doing something,” Leslie said. “You can help show them that it’s possible, whether it’s staying by their side and completing a hard run or sitting there while they work on a problem. You get to the same kind of place.”