Teaching Passion
/ Author: Andre van Heerden
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Teaching Passion

The passion and love of doing something—whether it’s work or a hobby—is hard to explain, but it is easier to inspire others through being a good example and sharing your own genuine excitement.

By André van Heerden, Communications Director

The pain of the injury was bad. The pain of not being able to do what I wanted to do was worse.

I recently tore one of my quad muscles while trying to kick a particularly hard soccer shot. I’m pretty sure I heard a comical sproing!—but even if I didn’t, I certainly felt it!

Immediately I knew that I wouldn’t be able to kick like that for some time. What I wasn’t expecting was that any kicking movement—even a light pass—would result in serious pain. At first, I thought I’d be able to continue coaching soccer like I’ve always done and just not participate in the drills and games and such. Unfortunately, the injury meant that I couldn’t even demonstrate specific skills properly. I was reduced to describing them and getting one of the players to exhibit it.

I hate this, because even if someone can demonstrate it perfectly, they still can’t stop and pause and hold like I would if I wanted to highlight something. It reminded me that when I was taking coaching courses, the instructors emphasized that a good coach doesn’t need to be a professional athlete, but they do need to have the ability to demonstrate good play and technique.

I think there’s something more to this. I think that when you can actually see that someone else knows what they’re talking about, you immediately trust them more. It’s one of the reasons why I think former CLAC stewards can make great CLAC representatives. They have the built-in experience to know what it’s like to be a worker looking for help for themselves and their fellow workers. They’ve lived it and have learned from it.  

One piece of constructive criticism that I received when doing a coaching course was not to participate in the drills or the game with the players. The instructor said that I couldn’t watch the players well enough while also participating. This rankled me a bit because I knew he was correct, but part of the reason that I love to coach is that I love playing the game.

What I’ve since found is that while there are moments to sit back and observe, there are others when it’s good to participate, if for no other reason than to demonstrate a love and passion for the game. It’s one thing to just learn to play the game. It’s another thing to love it.

Motivational writer William Arthur Ward noted: “The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.”

I remember watching a professional painter paint a large office. I was amazed at how he didn’t use any painter’s tape, and how all his lines were perfectly straight. Somehow the paint always went where he wanted. When I commented on how fast and perfectly he painted, his smile and explanation that he’d been painting for many years like his father before him showed that not only was he a pro, but he loved the work. This is someone that I would want teaching me.

Famous poet and author W.B. Yeats wrote that “education is not the filling of a pot but the lighting of a fire.”

The passion and love of doing something—whether it’s work or a hobby—is hard to explain, but it is easier to inspire others through being a good example and sharing your own genuine excitement.

Even if it leads to pulled muscles.

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