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Multitasking Teachers

Susan Fricke is the JV dance team coach and algebra teacher at Batavia High School. At Batavia High School. Many teachers of all subjects coach a team or club. Fricke has lead the JV dance team to Conference and helped score a 82 last year at Sectionals. Even though she does things a little differently in her class she does have things in common with the other coaches. She manages her time and has two important roles at this school.

Question: How long have you been a coach here?

Answer: Two years

Q: What did you major in?

A: I majored in Mathematics and Mathematics Education. Augustana did not have a dance or performing arts major. I was also a member of the Augustana Dance Company all four years of college.

Q: Would you say that you are more of a coach or a teacher?

A: Just as students who are in sports are not just students and they are not just athletes but instead they are student athletes. I am not just a coach and I am not just a teacher but I am a teacher who coaches.

Q: How do you manage your time between coaching your dancers and teaching your students?

A: I have always been a busy person involved in a million and one things in high school and college. The key is to stay organized and productive at all times.

Q: What similarities are there between coaching and teaching?

A: I see a lot of similarities between coaching and teaching. For both, you need to find what motivates your students, help them set goals, work with them to meet those goals, and then give them opportunities to show you that they have met their goals. There is nothing more rewarding for me when I see both my students and my dancers grow throughout the year.

Q: Do you think that you treat your dancers differently if they are in your class?

A: Nope! I know my dancers as dancers. I do not know them as students when they first enter my class so I still have that period of getting to know them and have to learn how to work with them when it comes to math. Now, I do think it is easier for my dancers to admit when they need help and to seek out that help from me because they already see me as someone who helps them work through things.  

Q: Why did you pick to be both coach and teacher?

A: Dance has always been a part of my life so I can’t imagine a time when I am not doing something with dance. Also, I want to be involved at the high school. I love the atmosphere at this school and I want to contribute to that.

Q: Would you say you are closer with your dancers or your students?

A: Depends on how long I’ve coached the dancer and how many times I have had the student. I look at the students I had in Algebra and that I now have in Geometry and I think that I am equally as close with them as I am with my dancers who I have coached last year and this year. I spend a lot more time with my dancers in competition season so that does make it easier to facilitate that closeness.

Q: Which one takes up the most time?

A: Depends on the time of year. Right now, dance because we are preparing for our final competitions. It is always on my mind. What can I change in our routine? What needs to be cleaned more? How can I strengthen my dancers?

Q: When you were growing up did you know what you wanted to be?

A: I’ve always wanted to be a teacher who also danced. I looked back at my time capsule from eighth grade and it said that I wanted to be a high school math teacher who coached the dance team at the high school I worked at.

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