Sunday, January 25, 2009

You Never Thought This Stuff Would Play This Way...

It seems that my life has taken the strangest of turns. I've been asked to take the JV Cheer sponsor job for next year.

I'm good friends with the Varsity coach and she asked me last year. At that time, I just laughed at her and pled busy with my duties as Spirit Club sponsor. But when she asked me again last Tuesday, it made more sense.

There have been three JV Cheer sponsors in as many years. Although two of the tree had chosen to leave the school, all of these sponsors were baby teachers who didn't handle the "teen drama" of the job very well. The JV squad has long had a repuatation for backbiting. I've been thinking hard about that and about what skills I have that led everyone to ask me to take this job (my principal, the athletic director, assisstant athletic director, varsity cheer coach...I worry that they'll bring the custodians in soon!).

Here's what I know I can do: I can make kids see themselves as a family and as a team. I had a sense of that before our summer together but after NITS, I really think I can do this. We might be the only cheer squad around with daily check in. We're going to use hard rules and heap praise on each other's heads. I know this is a twisted use of our methods, but I do think this sort of respect is what these girls have needed.

So I need more suggestions. I'm perfectly willing to let you laugh at this for a bit but after that I wonder what other ideas you have to teach these girls how to live in a community.

4 Comments:

At 7:30 AM, Blogger Walker said...

As someone who is a sister to a former cheerleader and current cheer coach I can honestly say that what you would offer those students would be perfect.

If your cheer squad is anything like the one at our school, those students need check-ins and hard rules, and sincere praise.

I say go for it!

-mel

 
At 12:10 PM, Blogger kv said...

i would actually love to take a squad of jv cheerleaders and turn them into smart, capable, confident and intellectual girls -- in addition to being spirited and cute and popular. i'd love to do it with any sports team, but especially cheer, which has such a stereotype. teams do have the potential for huge personal development and great relationship building... with the right coach it can be really transformative. i second mel -- go for it!

 
At 8:30 PM, Blogger Meg said...

You will be wonderful at this, Jen!

Since you asked for suggestions, I'd also suggest having them create a "squad contract" of expectations they have of each other for how to meet their goals, and get them to agree on consequences if the contract is not met. Type it up, and have them sign it. Get them on board with the concept of "making your squad look good" which means that the bases absolutely must be kind and helpful to the flyers and vice versa, and that precision in cheers comes not out of drill sergeant screaming, but their willingness to make each other look fantastic. Have a parent meeting before the season and explain what you intend to do. Get permission for all your unconventional ideas from the principal, AD, or other influential in-charge type.

I dunno--that's all the ideas I have. Go for it! Those girls sure are lucky!

-Meg

 
At 10:40 AM, Blogger educat said...

Thank you, guys. Really, I can't tell you how much your feedback on this topic means to me. I am totally out of my comfort zone when it comes to cheerleading. In fact, I've always made fun of them.

But I'm figuring out that these are just girls who need to be loved and encouraged. Your visions are helping to shape mine.

We will be a small tribe of superwomen! I can't wait to meet my squad and tell you all about them!

 

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