Louisa King teaches Te Reo Māori at Massey High School and is part of our 2014 cohort.
Teaching is one of the most difficult and underpaid professions, but the rewards you gain throughout your teaching career are priceless. Don't be fooled into thinking that teachers love their job every day. It is hard, tiring and time consuming.
But my story isn't to tell you how difficult my time as a teacher can be, I want to tell you about the rare gems you find within the profession. My little 'gems' are my students and, although they aren't so gem-like all of the time, there is a warmth in the classroom that I teach in. And also outside the classroom!
This year I was daring enough to become a hockey coach for the school. It was daunting at first because I had never coached before but I had played hockey for a long time. So long that I can't even remember the skills I've learnt over the years let alone how to teach them! I opted to coach the 2nd XI because you can teach the basics and they can have some fun - the winning kind of fun, of course!
The season was long and every week for the first half of the season I would get butterflies because 1. I was never sure if we would have enough players to play a game and 2. What if I let the girls down by not teaching them well enough?
We played without a goalie for the first half of the season, with a fill-in goalie here and there. The girls, though still learners, did great with only 9 players each game (11 makes a full team). Despite the lack of numbers, they won quite a few games! As for me, the more I settled into the role, the more fun coaching became.
At one point in the season, the fun sort of became a little too relaxed and for a (friendly) competitive sports woman like myself, that was something I had to learn to deal with. They definitely taught me patience! That aside, it was great to watch the girls develop as the season progressed and I was filled with pride as I witnessed their confidence and passion for hockey grow also.
My reward as a coach was when, at the end of the season, one of my most troubled but kind-hearted players thanked me for being the best coach she had ever had. It's nice to know that a little care and kindness goes a long way and means a lot to a teen. Even though it took up a lot of my time, I would do it all over again. But I think I'll have a rest next year.