Canada vs. Tonga – Lessons from the Rugby Pitch

Posted: September 16, 2011 in Uncategorized

As an avid rugby fan, coach and former player, I am thoroughly enjoying watching the Rugby World Cup taking place in New Zealand this fall. Although the time difference can make it a bit inconvenient to watch live games, the invention of the PVR makes the life of the die-hard fan much easier. Team Canada played their opening match against Tonga on Sept. 14th, 2011. Being a proud Canadian and a bit of a purist, I had to watch the game live and became quite caught up in the match as Canada went up, down and up again to secure a win. The fan in me cheered, agonized and hoped for a victory. The player in me imagined the crunch of the tackles and remembered the force of a scrum. The teacher and coach in me analyzed tackle positions, critiqued set piece formations and identified fundamental ball handling skills. After the game and upon reflection a day or more after, I also began to reminisce on my days as a high school coach that started in Saskatchewan and carried on into rural Alberta. The connections made with the players I coached and the educators I coached with provided me with some of the most valuable professional development I have ever experienced. Teaching skills, overcoming adversity, winning, losing and connecting with students on another level outside of the classroom will surely be counted as some of the highlights of my teaching career. Having said this, how does an educatorĀ balance the demands of self, family, teaching with countless hours on the pitch…or the basketball court, or the stage, or whatever? Although the benefits of coaching and leading in extra-curricular events is without a doubt, in my opinion, beneficial to both teacher and student, where is the balance and can there indeed be balance? I welcome discussion and perspective on this topic and will close this post by leaving a link of the Canada/Tonga match highlights and well wishes to Team Canada as they prepare to play France on Sunday.

  1. Sarah says:

    Hello Dean,

    I often struggle with the same questions about balance. At this moment, I am taking this class, teaching a dance class, have an intern, coach boys football, have some admin responsibilities etc etc as well as a husband and two young children. I have learnt in the past 4 years (since my first son was born) that one needs to use every moment of the teaching day. I have stopped going to the staff room at recess and lunch. I spend my time marking, planning and correcting instead of visiting…which in itself does pose some problems as I am finding I know my staff less and less. This can be problematic on a staff of 40+! I have also learnt to incorporate my family life into my school life and vice versa. Yesterday, my two children had to come to the football field to watch me coach, and the boys play. I thought it might be difficult to supervise them and my defence so some of my students also came to the game to “babysit.” I am learning more and more the importance of creativity as I balance all elements of my life! Any other suggestions would be great!

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