Teacher-coaches bring new perspective

It seems like many times coaches often do not realize that a high school student’s life is supposed to consist of more than school, homework, sports and sleep. These coaches, who may live in different areas than Palo Alto, have difficulty understanding the schedules and academic rigor of Palo Alto High School.  However, there are some coaches who do understand: Paly teachers who also coach Paly sports.

In many ways, teachers and coaches have many of the same obligations: to help develop the player or student’s potential into the best they can be.  A teacher who coaches can help students improve on the field and in the classroom by having a closer relationship.

What constitutes a good teacher?

“I measure my teachers by asking myself one question: can they be replaced by a computer?” junior Theo Zaharias said.

In this age of powerpoints and videos, it seems like so many teachers forget to form real relationships with their students.

“I want to feel like my teacher actually cares about how I do in the class and that I am really learning the material,” Zaharias said. Many students feel the relationship between teachers has become more electronic, as sites like Schoology and Infinite Campus are used to deliver news that could be given in class.

Paly teachers are extremely efficient as Paly coaches.  Doyle Knight, the Paly auto teacher, also coaches the freshman boys’ basketball and girls’ golf teams.  He believes that there are multiple advantages to being a teacher and a coach at the same school.

“First off, you have better contact with the players,” Knight said.  “It’s easier to have lunch meetings and stuff like that.”

Knight also feels that the advantages of being a teacher who coaches goes beyond just scheduling efficiency.

“I like the relationship I have as a teacher with my students and the relationship I have with my players as a coach, and they’re very similar,” Knight said. “And if I have both, then that only makes it better because we just have more in common and there’s more of a bond.”

Players who have teacher-coaches generally agree that it helps them have a better connection with the coach.

“I definitely feel like having a teacher at Paly coach your team is better than someone random,” junior Alex Dees said.

Paly teachers will continue to present an extremely viable option as role models and helpful resources in the classroom and on the field.