Teacher-Coaches Cherish Added Responsibility

Mia Zaldivar, design editor

While some teachers leave their classrooms at 2:20, many also stay behind. These teachers that stay after dismissal say they find having after school roles rewarding.

Head varsity boys basketball coach and P.E. teacher Marcos Molina has taught and coached at Palmetto since last fall. He came from Hialeah Gardens High School and before that, he coached college-level basketball at Barry University. He decided to coach high school basketball, eventually at Palmetto, because he valued the bond he created with high schoolers.

“I like the relationship with the high school players; it was more of a business in college, and [I] did not really want to get into the basketball business,” Molina said. “I just like coaching basketball.”

Many coaches at Palmetto cherish their career, not viewing their job as a job but as a passion. Football coach and Math teacher, Eduardo Fernandez began teaching math and coaching football at Palmetto in 2014.

“I chose Palmetto because it’s my alma mater and I love this school,” Fernandez said.

Sports consumes most of the coaches’ lives today as it did during their younger years. Coach Molina played basketball for Emporia State University’s National Collegiate Athletic Association Division II basketball program. On the other hand, Fernandez realized playing pro or college was not a realistic option for him, leaving Fernandez looking for other options that would allow him to include football in his career.  

“I figured the next best thing was to coach. I saw a lot of my friends coaching through teaching, like Coach Manasco, so I asked them about how I could get into coaching. They told me I had to start teaching,” Fernandez said.

Teaching and coaching at the same school adds a different aspect to the job. Interacting with students in the classroom and seeing them on the field or court as athletes later in the day provides a deeper connection between the coach and the student athlete.

“The kids see you differently. They see you more as a different influence; they get to see you outside of the classroom element,” Fernandez said. “Anytime a student sees a teacher outside of the classroom, it’s totally different than seeing you inside of the classroom, so you get a different bond with the students,”

Coaching for 18 years, including college students and high schoolers, Molina cherishes his job right now as a high school basketball coach for both his teaching and coaching experiences.

“My favorite part about coaching here at Palmetto is definitely the kids I have the opportunity to work with everyday and also my coaches I have the opportunity to work with everyday,” Molina said.

Developing these relationships becomes a rewarding experience, keeping the coaches coming back every year, even though this takes a substantial amount of time away from their families and free time. But, teachers who coach evidently relish what they do for the personal satisfaction of seeing their students grow and succeed not only in the classroom but on the field as well.

“You get to see kids grow from the time they are 14 years old to the time they are 18 and see the growth in them as little babies, essentially 14 year old babies, and when they are 18, you know they are still young adults, but you can mold them and give them a better path as far as to where they can go in life,” Fernandez said.