My son, Nathan, loves to play sports. When asked his favorite, he always answers soccer, but he is definitely not ready to specialize, and that is fine with my husband and me. We find there are many benefits to being a multisport athlete. Multisport athletes are exposed to different children and roles on the team, they’re less prone to injury, and they don’t burn out on any one sport. We are not trying to raise a world-class athlete, but a well-rounded, motivated team player who finds joy in the sports he chooses to be a part of.
Teachers are similar to multisport athletes. The difference? We do not run, kick, swing, catch, throw, and block—we teach. But we don’t just teach; we interact, challenge, engage, problem solve, care, inspire, motivate, involve, encourage, organize, love, and understand. When we get home each day, we may be tired, but the teammates we work with and the various roles we play motivate us to come back each day for more. We find joy in our work with children, and that feeling makes us less prone to the injury of burnout.
My son recently hung up his baseball shoes for the year and is preparing for football camp, where he will work on his skills as the team’s kicker. It has been almost nine months since he has kicked a field goal, but he is not concerned. His work in other sports has kept his body in shape and his mind sharp, and he is ready and excited to get back at it.
I am too! In my area, school starts in a few weeks, and I am starting to prepare for my role. It has been a few months since I have been in the classroom with students, but my professional reading and conversations with colleagues during the summer have kept my mind sharp. For the next few weeks, I am in practice mode . . . preparing for the upcoming season in the classroom. And on opening day, I will be refreshed and ready for my team. I hope you are too!