by: Trevor Piecewicz and Max Karkos
We all know teaching is a full-time job, with many teachers spending hours after the bell rings grading tests and planning for the next day. However, some teachers go a step further, lacing up their sneakers, throwing on a pair of shorts, and taking to the athletic complexes to help students in a different way.
There are many teachers here at WHS who are also coaches for our athletic teams. We wanted to know what that was like, and how the relationships between adults and students can broaden or weaken with this experience.
We interviewed Business teacher Chris Palazzo, who was also a freshman football coach and is the JV golf coach. We asked him what he thought about working with his athletes on the field or in his case, the golf course, and in the classroom.
“That’s one thing I've always enjoyed about coaching is building relationships on the field or the golf course and then allowing the relationship to continue to grow in the classroom.”
Mr. Palazzo understands that his athletes are human and that these types of things happen. So when we asked him if an altercation an athlete gets into in a game can lead him to view the athlete differently in class, he said, “I don’t think so, because I understand that the students are people outside of the classroom.”
Coach Palazzo implies that although his students can acted differently on the field, it isn’t going to impact the way that he is looked upon in the classroom.
Varsity Girls Basketball coach Jeff Russell, is a brand new gym teacher at WHS. He previously worked at Silas Deane Middle School, so Coach Russell is very familiar with many of the faces and athletes at WHS. We wanted his thoughts on now being able to build chemistry with his athletes in school, rather than just on the basketball court.
“It’s great because we are a team on and off the court. We build relationships that last throughout the entire offseason. When we are all in the same building, it’s easy for us to come together and build a family. We all have a goal and we all want to work to achieve it.”
Having the ability to build chemistry and just get to know your athletes better off the field is a huge asset when it comes to success and winning games. We asked varsity girls soccer coach Tony Leone, a paraprofessional at the high school, on how it has affected their season so far.
“Sometimes it’s a little bit of a challenge because we take how we are on the field into the school and that’s not always the right way to portray ourselves in front of other students.”
The student athletes here at WHS love their coaches. They build special relationships in sports that carries into the school. It can sometimes distract from the fact that they are in a different setting.
Coach Leone said, “I think they see me as coach and not a school person, which can be tough.”
However, in Coach Leone;s case this isn’t a bad thing. Coach Leone doesn’t work directly with any of his athletes. He likes the fact that he can be in the same building and always have an eye over what his athletes are doing in school. Coach Leone loves being there for his team, he said, “They see me as coach, so I think there is a comfort level that they may have more with me than anybody else.”
These teachers are a perfect embodiment of what it is to be an Eagle. The relationships they build are special and it’s what makes them love their jobs.
Written, edited, and produced by Wethersfield High School students, covering all news and events.