Sports: A Simple Way To Bond With Your Students

Men playing college footballTeens love sports. OK, not all of them. But, when you take the number of teens who play some type of sport  at school or otherwise, combined with those who love a particular sports team, then you have an overwhelmingly clear majority.

Yet, I know many teachers who absolutely hate sports. They bash them around students and complain about their negative impact on the life of the school.

I think some teachers dislike sports for a few reasons. They:

  • Are “intellectuals” and feel that mindset is incompatible with sports
  • Think that athletics take precedence over academics
  • Have no personal interest in sports
  • Feel that sports are violent or a waste of time

Let me answer these particular objections briefly.

  • I have a Masters degree from a top university, studied Greek and Latin, and can tell you all you want to know about philosophy from Plato to Heidegger. I also never miss a chance to watch the Cleveland Browns or talk about them. Being intellectual and loving sports aren’t contradictory.
  • Athletics do take precedence over academics sometimes. It’s a sad fact. However, a kid’s interest in sports can actually be an asset, especially if they come from a family that lacks structure and accomplishments. Rather than being at war with sports, teachers should help students build on their sports successes to also find success in their schoolwork.
  • While everyone is allowed his or her own opinion, there are many different types of sports out there. The odds of having no interest in all of them is pretty slim.
  • Athletic contests can be violent and, for some kids, they are escapes. But, this doesn’t make all athletic activity bad or a waste of time. Sports mean a lot for many teens. It doesn’t matter what we think. It’s a reality.

I always enjoyed talking about sports with my students because it was a theme about which many of them had real passion. They were impressed that I knew a lot about the topic and cared about it. Also, by talking about it with them, it showed I cared, not just about the game, but about them!

Even if you don’t like sports, taking an interest is an easy way to bond with your students. If you enjoy sports, but don’t share that with the students, then maybe now is the time to bring up the topic. It’s an easy and effective way to build rapport with even the most troubled and “difficult” kids.

About Jonathan Bennett

Jonathan Bennett is an administrator, author, and speaker with a background in teaching. His articles receive over a million hits per year and have appeared in a variety of publications. He is co-owner of the small business Theta Hill, and he also writes for The Popular Teen, The Popular Man and other sites.