Easily the most difficult part about coaching is making cuts. It's so difficult, in fact, that some years, I've barely made any. However, I had a huge group try out this year, and I had to cut 15 kids on Thursday night from the baseball team, a greater amount than ever before. Even that just got the numbers down from 42 to 27, and really I should cut a few more to get down to 22, which is how many jerseys I have.
I cut a lot of great kids, many with some baseball skills; this year, even the 9th graders can play a little bit (I'm keeping two of them and cut a few seniors, in fact). But I just can't keep them all. It's actually tearing me up pretty good right now, not made any easier the more I learn about them. [...] The only solution I can think of is to have a practice squad, but I need someone to work with them, and it's kind of a thankless job because there are no teams to play and we are really restricted in equipment and space.
So, it's been a rough week, but also a good week - I really do love getting back out there on the field with these kids. It's a good team this year, potentially a really good team, and I've coached the mainly-upperclassmen team for a number of consecutive years now. I know the kids well and really, not to sound cheesy, care about them. It's such an interesting mix, quite a bit more of an interesting mix than any of my classes, which are separated pretty markedly (the highest-ability 12th graders, and a particularly wiggly group of 9th graders) into two types. Not so the baseball team - kids range from 14 to 18, great students and students I have to be on every moment, well-behaved kids in class and kids whose teachers are constantly in touch with me about tardies and texting. Yet they all are already forming into a cohesive group. I do love this.
Yet every season, I am blown away by the time commitment of it - I'm literally at school for 12 hours every day, and often then get kids home, and arrive home myself well past dark and plan two lessons for the next day. This Wednesday, I was feeling that pull of supreme irritation that comes from not sleeping (remember my diagnosis of Chronic Sleep Disorder from earlier this year? I had pretty much fixed it, but not this week), which this week came from being over-worked and also from thinking about these cuts.
Today, I decided to google myself and went to the ratemyteachers reviews about myself. I only have 14 reviews, and all are mostly positive, except one really negative one about four years ago - and that one smarts still. But the latest one said something along the lines of, "Good teacher, really nice guy, really laid back, but needs to find more time for his students".
It was oddly shocking. I certainly have some weaknesses as a teacher (it takes me too long to return papers, I haven't figured out a good way to do drills this year with my 9th graders, I have the occasional dud unit like the recent Native Son one that was a snowday-fueled surface romp instead of getting into in-depth analysis like I would have wanted to - perhaps I was too much of a slave to my schedule), but devotion of time is not one of them.
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