I started out being an English teacher.
I liked teaching for the most part. Ok, except at the end of three years as a junior high teacher, I ran screaming to my coordinator and announced I needed to move to high school or I’d quit. Thank goodness he found me a position. I only quit teaching when I had more babies (I tried teaching with one baby, and that taught me two would be too many for me to work and care for).
I love sharing what I know with people. Even when it’s just a few tips at a talk. There’s something about making a connection and giving that thing that someone else needs. I tagged along on Tracy’s Danskin talk at RunTex today; it was a small crowd but very worthwhile for the people who came. Hard to describe exactly why or what it is that I get from it, but I love doing that stuff.
I don’t know if it’s that I have a different love for running and working out that makes this kind of sharing/teaching so much more pleasurable or if it’s the lack of, oh, discipline, paperwork, and “teaching to the test.” I loved my students. I love reading and writing and talking about books. Perhaps the difference between teaching and coaching is you can really see when someone makes the connection to running, and the results are quickly visible. As a coach, you often hear from people that something you said or did affected them in some way. You can often see it even when they don’t say it. I don’t think I ever had an English student say, “That really made a difference to me.” That’s not to say it didn’t happen — but if you don’t know about it, it’s kind of the whole “if a tree falls in a forest” thing.
When I was a run coach for Iron Chicks, I had a woman who started out as a smoker that couldn’t run a mile without walking. She had all kinds of issues, questions, worries. She successfully completed Danskin that year; it was just glorious and wonderful to see her confidence build and her health improve. It was a great feeling to know that I helped with that. She went on to run some half marathons…I know because I saw her on the trail one day about a year later, and she told me.
But seeing her at her first race was the best feedback ever.