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Living the Double Life

Behind the Scenes of Teachers Who Coach

Photos by Blair Bayliss/Maclay Andalusian

Being a teacher is hard enough between lesson plans, teaching and grading. However, some teachers take it a step further by becoming a coach for a school sport as well. On top of the usual teacher responsibilities, coaches stay after school most days for practice, staying late for games and making sure everything is good for game day. The school lives of teachers in general aren’t a mystery, but the lives of teachers who coach are because of how much goes on outside of the classroom.

Out of the 18 varsity sports at Maclay, seven upper school teachers are the head coaches of them. Many teachers coach junior varsity and middle school sports in addition to the varsity sports. Throughout fall and spring sports, coaches take the extra responsibility to coach to the best of their ability.

Math teacher Katy Gimbel currently teaches Algebra 2 and AP statistics but is also the head coach of the varsity girls basketball team.

“It [balancing teaching and coaching] is difficult but I try to always make time for myself, to do stuff for myself and make sure I get my teaching stuff done first,” Gimbel said. “Then, with any extra time I have, I focus on coaching stuff.”

Since Gimbel is passionate about both of her jobs, she mixes her knowledge of the court with math to make the classroom more fun.

“I usually try to relate things in basketball to math because I am a math teacher so I will be like ‘look the goal is circular’ or ‘the backboard is a rectangle’,” Gimbel said.

Being able to connect with students who favor sports over the subject helps engage those students in the class. Additionally, a benefit of being both a coach and a teacher is seeing students thrive in both settings, as well as strengthening the coach and player bond.

“I do have some of my players in the classroom so it's always fun telling them if they are acting up in class they have to do extra sprints,” Gimbel said.

The Computer Science and Engineering department head and varsity boys golf and middle school soccer coach Joe Kupiszewski describes what is like balancing his work load.

“[I do it] Painfully,” Kupiszewski said. “It is a lot but it is also kind of fun because you get to know the kids outside of the classroom so it is kinda nice, especially if they don’t take my classes.”

Since Kupiszewski coaches two sports, he is exposed to many different students which helps how he interacts with players inside and out of the classroom.

“It is good, you get to build different kinds of relationships,” Kupiszewski said. “You know golf and soccer, those are two things I grew up doing and like to do, so even if we were maybe battling in the classroom over something, we have kind of a common bond over something.”

While teachers benefit from seeing their players in the classroom, students do as well.

“Honestly it [having Kupiszewski as a teacher and coach] is pretty similar since he is a really happy guy, generally really funny and likes to joke,” senior soccer captain Lawre Bradley May said. “He isn’t our [varsity girls soccer coach] but he comes out to practice a lot and it is really fun having him out there and he is just a good spirited guy, he’s fun.”

As stressful as taking on both roles can get, teachers find a way to make their players a priority while also keeping their grades in check.

“Like anything you always wish there was more time but I think Maclay does a pretty good job at helping balance that with our [teacher] schedules,” Gimbel said. “I don’t teach 4A so it is nice that I have those afternoons where I can start planning stuff or leave for an early game or something.”


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