Learning is all about motivation. Many students will race around a track in sheets of rain and howling wind. In any chosen athletic contest or training they will wring every ounce of energy from their psyche and body. They will not wait to be driven, but will drive themselves almost to collapse and be exhilarated by team loyalty and pride in their personal self-discipline. They will revere and obey the slaphappy coach who makes Marine drill instructors seem mellow by comparison as he bulldozes his students to victory over the limitations of others and of themselves.
Why will many of these same kids despise the classroom teacher for insisting they bring a pencil to school each day?
Teachers colleges can learn a lot from the best athletic coaches. The mental skills associated with excellence in sports are ideally suited to academic pursuits.
Hard work with a “no excuse” attitude to personal failure is as relevant to a classroom as to a playing field. Self-discipline and sacrifice, a clear head and cool temper, and strategies for coping with any contingency and challenge are all part of the formula.
A tough but loving taskmaster, whether a coach or a teacher, will earn the gratitude and loyalty of the kids in their charge.
And hopefully skirt the wrath of the DOE.