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Wed, 2017-05-31 16:50 -- scott

Pulling Us Out of the Ruts

“I think I just broke your arm”, said my practice partner.  It was the first week of wrestling practice in my sophomore year of High School.    

“Naw, my arm is just fine”, I said automatically without thinking.  My partner had thrown me to the mat during a routine set of wrestling drills in our High School practice.  I glanced down at my arm and was hit by shock and pain at the same time as I realized my forearm was in the shape of a U.  At the doctor’s office I would learn I had broken my Radius bone, which is one of the two bones that connect the elbow and the hand.

I watched from the sidelines that year.  The arm eventually recovered and I was back on the wrestling team the next year.  But as I soon found out, my mind didn’t recover as quickly as my arm did.  I was timid, protective, passive.  I went from winning 85% or more of my matches (I had been wrestling since 4th grade) to losing the majority of my matches as a Junior in high school.  I was in a pretty deep rut.

The next year my wrestling coach, Kevin Wood, hosted a team retreat at a cabin before the wrestling season started.  For two days we did team building exercises, listened to motivational talks, and made goals for the upcoming season.  Kevin was more than a coach.  He was a mentor, a motivator, and a great friend.  That year with Kevin in my corner I pulled myself out of the rut.  Kevin made me team captain and I won nearly all of my matches.  And the ones I didn’t win were all close as I fought with power and confidence of somebody who believes in himself.

 

Kevin gave me more than a winning record that year.  He instilled in me confidence, trust, and a passion for the sport of wrestling which I share with my own sons today. 

Great teachers and coaches know how to pull their students and team members out of a rut.  They can identify the potential in others and then help develop the potential.  This is important because all of us with eventually be in a rut someday.

 

Making Learning Fun and Meaningful

My daughter—Ellie—has a Spanish teacher who has inspired her in Spanish this year.  Mr. Arnell’s class is known for being rigorous and challenging.  My daughter has also discovered that Mr. Arnell can make learning a new language fun and meaningful.  All year long she has told us how much she enjoys her Spanish class—that Mr. Arnell connects with the students and makes the learning interesting. Ellie was up late the other night happily studying for her final so she could get a 100% on the exam.  I knew that Ellie had already locked up an A in the class and I asked her why she was studying so late.  She told me that Mr. Arnell had promised any student who scored 100% on the final that he would buy them a Mexican Soda.  She also wanted to do well on the exam because Mr. Arnell’s class always scores the highest in the district on the Spanish exam and she didn’t want to let him down. 

Good teachers matter.  They can take something as boring as Spanish (forgive me Mr. Arnell) and make it fun and meaningful to the point where students take extra time to take their learning to the next level.

 

Instantly Statistics Became Interesting

The other day our lead Microsoft Office instructor, Jason Bird, was teaching an Excel class to four men who just weren’t “getting” a statistical function of Excel.  Jason has a great knack of making learning relevant.  He knew from earlier discussion that day the men were interested in sports.  So Jason decided to change the class up a bit and they made a fantasy baseball statistics spreadsheet. 

Instantly statistics became interesting.  Jason told me after class that once he introduced Baseball, the students had a great time applying the skills they were learning. 

Great teachers help students apply learning to real life.  And when students see that the skills they are learning can be applied to their life, they learn and retain much better.

 

A Teacher, Coach, and Mentor

Three years ago LeapFox had a crisis.  Our Sales Manager of five years left our company suddenly and went to work for a competitor.  When she left, the other members of the sales team, key instructors, and many of our best clients left as well.  In a very short period of time our sales dried up and our business crumbled.  My wife, Codi, and I operated the business together and neither one of us knew anything about building or running a sales team—our Sales Manager had been handling all of that for years.  In the time it would take to find and train a sales manager LeapFox would be out of business.  We were faced with the decision to either close our doors or get some fast help.  

We decided to get some help and reached out to a former instructor, Dave Tester, who had taught a sales class for us some time back.  Dave came in and helped us immediately stop the flood of customers leaving.  He got in the trenches with us and taught us how to be fearless sales professionals on the phone and how to fight for our business.  He personally interviewed and hired key members of our sales team who are with us today.  Under Dave’s training we were able to reverse the tide and start winning training deals again.  Now, three years later our sales team has grown to five awesome team members and is doing several times the amount of business we were doing in the days of our old Sales Manager.  During that time Dave has been more than a teacher.  He has been a coach and a mentor; working with me one-on-one, providing strategic guidance, kicking me in the butt when needed—even praying with me when things were particularly hard. 

Today things are going well.  Codi has been able to retire from LeapFox and is enjoying catching up  with the kids who hardly saw us during the past three years.
  

 

A Big Thanks

Here is to all those teachers and coaches who have made a difference in our lives.  Thank you for helping us become better wrestlers, better Spanish speakers, better Excel spreadsheet users, better sales people, better parents, and better human beings. 

On behalf of LeapFox Learning I’d like to offer a free training class to all the teachers and coaches out there.  This offer is good for any Microsoft Office, Adobe Photoshop, or Leadership Development class we are offering in June or July.  For a full list of classes we are running check out our schedule here.  To register, simply call our office and let us know you are a teacher or coach taking Scott up on his blog offer.

 

Thanks,

Scott Galloway
Believer in Good Teachers
LeapFox Learning