Monday, July 13, 2015

Golf and Teaching: The Challenges of Being a Rookie

The Players

Just like in teaching, golf can be either a group activity or a solo endeavor. Even though a group of people can be there to help you play a good game, they cannot do it for you. They give you advice and techniques, they keep you company and encourage you but they cannot get the ball in the hole. It is up to you to learn from advice, observe, and apply in order to improve. Golfers watch out for other players just as our teaching buddies will be willing to watch out for you.

The Golf Course Map

This is our curriculum map. Each area represents a skill we need to master in teaching. Each poses its own challenges, has specific characteristics, and we have to use appropriate tools to be able to master that particular area. Each area looks different and in order to get there we are required to have achieved and master other areas and skills

The Holes
The only purpose of golf is to navigate a vast and beautiful landscape in order to put a ball in a small little hole….. And so is with teaching. There is so much preparation, sacrifice, training, focus, and skill put into one objective: the learning objective. When we as teachers see that something clicks in a student’s mind, that’s it! We put the ball in the hole or in teaching terms, we have made the learning process come to life!
The Clubs
This one was hard for me. When I learned to play golf, nobody was willing to teach me which club to use for which purpose. I had 12 clubs and they all kind of look like the same. I was using all of them trying to find out which one did what. Just as with our teaching skills and tools, during our first years we are just using whatever we feel might work in order to accomplish our learning objective. After I played golf a few times with some not so newbies, they noticed my mistakes. They told me the rules of choosing the right club for the right purpose. Wow, that hurt my ego, but it did surely improved the way I played. My newly found confidence in playing golf by using the right tool allowed me to keep trying. Just as in teaching, when I am willing to set aside my ego and watch and learn from the pros in teaching, everything becomes clearer and I experience success.
Sand Traps
No golfer, new or experienced likes sand traps. When your ball falls into a sand trap, it requires a certain skill and a particular club to get it out to the faraway in order to keep playing. Your ball can be stuck in there for a while…. Just like in teaching. Challenges, problems, lack of motivation, tiredness, belittlement, gossip, lack of recognition. It is hard when you fall in that place and harder to get out and keep going. Use the right tool and the right technique. Surround yourself with other professionals that will teach you the tricks to move on. 

Golf is not easy, and neither is teaching. Will you persevere? 

Photo Credit Vallarta Golf Castillo 2015 
Photo Credit: Whisper Creek Golf Club, Huntley, Illinois via photopin (license)
Photo Credit: Too good for your home? via photopin (license)
Photo Credit Golf Set Castillo 2015
Photo Credit: Dornoch Golf Bunkers via photopin (license)

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