The Harbinger Online

Blog: Leadership

If you are or plan on becoming a teacher or coach, you are dealing with kids at a very impacting and developmental time. Psychological studies have proved that how I am treated in my youth directly affects many aspects of my personality for the rest of my life. Having said this, I’m tired of seeing teachers or sport coaches who act as if they don’t care about their jobs.

During the school year, especially during lacrosse season, I spend the majority of my day interacting with and listening to my teachers and coaches. When one of my teachers is very encouraging and friendly towards me, not only do I like them more, but I also like their class and subject matter more. I learned this from my time with Mr. Kinasewitz, my fifth grade American History teacher. He was about average height, dark-haired and always drank from the same mug that displayed his favorite football team, the New York Jets. Mr. K was so enthusiastic that I looked forward to his class every day. I raised my hand at every question, tried to sit up straight and look attentive towards the Revolutionary War or the 50 state capitals and did all of my homework so that I would get good grades on all of the tests and quizzes. This was a time where I still raised my hand in class and asked or answered questions. I even remember one day in class when I was the only one who raised my hand to answer a question. I had been participating a lot that day and Mr. K looked at me and said, “Okay, does anyone other than Nick know the answer?” I beamed with pride of my knowledge and told my mom all about what had happened in American History when I went got home. Through personality-filled teaching and inspirational quotes or life lessons at the end of class, Mr. K instilled in me a love for learning and became one of my biggest role models.

On the other hand, I have also had teachers so boring or spiteful that I acquired a permanent disliking of their subject. One of my past junior high school math teachers would insult us if we got a problem wrong, and blamed us for his bad moods. He taught the subject free of enthusiasm and was just plain mean. For example, one year the school’s drama department put on “Beauty and the Beast”, and my sister Madison played the lead. When a girl in class was talking to her friend about how fun the rehearsals were, my math teacher for some reason felt the need to tell us that he thought “the musicals and plays are stupid, and are a big waste of time and money.” After going through an entire school year of constant put-downs and negativity every day, math was torture for me.

Coaches influence kids just as much as teachers. If I have a coach who is very engaging and supportive, I am more likely to enjoy that sport. If I respect and care about what my coach thinks of me, I probably will try harder to succeed and not let the coach down. A problem I had with one of my past coaches was not just the fact that he swore at us profusely if we made a mistake, but also that he took no responsibility in our team’s failure. If any person mentors a group of kids, they should realize that they are accountable in our performance too.

Even high school students find themselves in leadership roles. As a Link Leader, I was taught to be enthusiastic and fun, and try to make a student’s initial experience at East an enjoyable one. I know that on my freshman orientation day, having just moved from Ohio, one of the things that helped give me a positive attitude was how fun my Link Leaders made everything. Now as an upperclassmen, I take this role very seriously. Myself, along with each member of the Link Crew must attend a pair of six hour sessions during the week before school starts. We learn different games that are designed to make everyone in our group work together or learn more about each other, like a maze game where we take turns trying to find the right way to the end. We also try to have positivity and energy throughout the day and when we give the tour of East.  All of the work and energy pays off when the freshmen finally arrive and the school year begins.

People who have jobs involving leadership, especially teachers and coaches, need to realize things they say or do have impact, both good and bad. Mr. Kinasewitz’s enthusiasm and passion for teaching has inspired me to become an American History teacher, myself, after I graduate high school. Without a teacher as inspiring and influential as Mr. K, I doubt I’d be as interested or sure of what I want to do with my life.

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Nick May

This is Nick's first semester writing for the Harbinger. He is a Junior. He enjoys playing lacrosse for East as well as snowboarding and supporting the Ohio State Buckeyes and the CIncinnati Bengals. Read Full »

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