I can still hear his voice, ringing loud and clear in the dank locker room as we sat nervously, ready to begin one of our games. He was famous for sharing quotations during practices and before games to get us motivated. This was one of his favorites. We heard it often. Coach Madson was passionate--about basketball, about education, about every word he chose so carefully. A sophomore girls basketball coach has little glory in this world; however, I contend it is coaching that has more influence and impact on teen kids than parents at times. Fortunately, we were lucky enough to be coached by some of the most caring, supportive people ever. I lived for basketball! I lived for the games, the smell of the leather basketball, the stinginess of our uniforms, and the feeling of running up and down that wooden floor in which we knew every dead spot and creak.
So how does that quote, that feeling of sitting in that locker room, ready and anxious for a new game affect me now? It affects me daily. I know every beat of our building, I know every inch of the hallways and can predict how the traffic flow will be in the hallways depending on the mood and atmosphere of the kids that fill them. I know that teachers are watching, cuing in on common behaviors and those that seem out of the ordinary. I also know the kids that might need a hug or thumbs-up, and those that have enough confidence to make it to Hollywood. As educators, we pick up on things others might not even notice.....we also can send messages we do not intend. We are human and we continue to learn.
As adults, our actions are what kids see and what impacts them the most. I can talk the talk, but if I don't walk it, they won't respect it. To them, trust can be a deal maker or breaker. How can we help our kids and educators keep in mind that it's not about what we say or do, it's what we choose to do and show others? How can we encourage those that continue to make positive choices and encourage those that are not to improve? Because until we show them that what we DO speaks loudly, they cannot hear what we say. Keep doing......keep improving.