‘They Are Uncoachable.’

July 20, 2022

This was said to a mum while her lovely was near her so her lovely heard this ‘coach’ proclaim them as uncoachable. Not only is this a most unkind thing to say about any human being it isn’t something that any coach/teacher should say to a mum (parent/guardian/significant adult) and they should never say it to or within earshot of a pupil.

Yes, at times I have thought that I am out of my depth or that I didn’t have enough knowledge or that I wasn’t good enough to move a pupil forward. I don’t know everything and haven’t taught every kind of brain in all circumstances so *yes* there will be times when I genuinely don’t know what to do next. But that’s me and my shortcomings and absolutely nothing to do with the pupil.

I will need to go off and read, talk, listen and speak to professionals with specific knowledge that I don’t have. I will need to talk to parents (the experts on their children more often than not) and also, and this is the most important thing of all -talk to the pupil, where it’s appropriate. So often pupils have a fabulous understanding and insight into their own challenges and also what they might need to help them, if only they are asked.

One of my chaps struggled with learning to swim. His teacher was in the pool watching my chap swim backwards while the rest of the group made their way to the other end of the pool. The teacher caught my eye and did the universal shrug (think of the emoji) for, ‘I haven’t a clue.’ We stopped the lessons because it’s hard to pay for a teacher, however kindly honest, who admits to not having a clue and that they don’t have a plan to find the clue that they need to teach my child better. But the honesty was kind and expressed in a way that said they were at the edge of their knowledge, and it wasn’t in front of my chap.

We found our way and through using benches and ironing boards we got the mechanics of swimming and then we found a fab teacher who took my chap for who and what his body was. He was totally teachable but only by the right teacher.

‘They are uncoachable’ says to me that this teacher has not a clue of what to do with the lovely in front of them and that they are at the edge of their skill and that they cannot admit that. (I do know that this class was totally appropriate for this lovely though and that they were able to do 2 of the 3 assessment tasks with no issues.) I also know that this teacher needs some training on how to be a nice human, especially to those who are younger than them. I say this in a jokey way but that is in no way to excuse this terribly bad behaviour.

‘They’ are always teachable. You (us teachers/coaches) just have to gather information, listen to others and speak to professionals with more knowledge than you have. You need to discuss expectations of what a pupil might want from a lesson that you’re giving because exams are very much for some (I love a certificate on the wall and are not ashamed to admit this) while others are terrified at the prospect. Some want to learn for a specific reason while for others it’s for pleasure or the fulfilment of something they never got the chance to do when they were younger. For some, it’s for the experience and feeling or just simply working and connecting with another human being. Whatever the reason the pupil is *your* pupil, you need to go the extra mile for them. You are not the fountain of all knowledge and even though you may have 20+ years experience, you haven’t before met this fab person standing or sitting in front of you (or behind the camera).

‘They’ have a lot to teach you too.

‘They’ will make you a far better teacher and person than you were before.

‘They’ will fire your brain, ignite your passion for why you do what you do.

‘They’ are necessary in your knowledge development.

We should all be seeking out the ‘They’ pupils.

(This post was written out of incredulity but posted with permission from the mum of the lovely I talk about.)

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