“That’s the Shit They Don’t Teach You”

For the past three weeks, I’ve had a student teacher and it’s been great. The phrase “that’s the shit they don’t teach you,” has been uttered a lot. There’s a massive disconnect with what beginning teachers and those that have been on the job for a long time are learning about the education system. I know that doesn’t sound good, but that’s the way it’s been for a long time. I guess there’s nothing like experiencing the “real world.”

Nevertheless, our discussions today got me thinking about the “shit that coaches don’t tell young players.” Obviously, every student teacher is different, just like every young player. The advice served up over the last three weeks have been a collection of experiences and scenarios over the past two decades of being in the profession.

One could look at those on-the-job experiences as mere suggestions or tips or one could see them as being a game changer or the path to long-term success within the profession. The same could be said about young hockey players and a coaches directives.

It all depends on the receptivity of the student or player.

Everyone can remember their favorite teachers; everyone can remember their favorite coaches, but it’s our mentors that make the biggest difference in our lives.

Mentors seem to always teach us the most valuable lessons that will have the largest impact. That’s the “shit” that others just assume will get taught or learned a long the journey. It all comes back to teaching and taking pride in the little things, that’s the biggest difference maker of them all, the details.

Mentors have a way of providing all the invaluable feedback and constructive criticism in the clearest, most understanding and compassionate way. They don’t tear us down, they tell us the way it is, the way it should be, but they do in a way that builds us up. You see that’s why they’re mentors, that’s why they are successful, because they are willing to give, willing to teach and most importantly will to give back. The advice that I’m providing my student teacher right now are part in parcel to the mistakes I’ve made in my journey in the teaching profession.

That’s the shit that they don’t teach you. You see having a true coaching mentor or teaching mentor is rare, because so many people don’t want to talk about their pitfalls or mistakes. They become guarded and closed off. They have an air of confidence or entitlement like they have been there and done that, but they are too good to share. I’m sure you can think of teachers or coaches like that. It’s the true mentors that open themselves up and provide the real and raw feedback that make a lasting impression on their players or students. You see “that’s the shit that they don’t teach you.”

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