A life in the week of James Kaminski, director of sport at Salisbury Cathedral School
After a wonderful summer break, I feel energised and excited for another school year. The extraordinary summer of cricket has certainly got the juices flowing. It is always a shock to the system, however, to get back into the swing of things. This undoubtedly is a common feeling shared by all teachers up and down the country. I have to admit, though, that I actually enjoy going back to work and I am extremely fortunate to work in such an idyllic setting and wonderful school. In many respects a return to work is a respite from the rigours of daddy day care with my toddler son and labrador puppy. A three-day pre-season sports camp of rugby and hockey for our pupils between year 3 – 8 is a gentle way to ease back into the school environment. The ethos of the club is centred around fun and an opportunity for current and new pupils to hit the ground running before term begins.
After the annual headache following the information overload that is inset, it is great to have the buzz of the first day and to have children returning from summer holidays. I always find schools strange places when the children are away, albeit quieter ones. The excitement of a new class, year group and new pupils starting a new journey is wonderful to see. Being a year 6 tutor allows me to see the children in a different light. The importance of starting as you mean to go on is something that resonates with me and the sports department and I ensure pupils know the expectations and standards before the first session is underway. It is great to get the new sporting equipment out and we have a wonderful backdrop of the Salisbury Cathedral providing an incredible setting for pupils to enjoy their sport. It’s a typically busy day but a good one nonetheless.
The role of director of sport is not simply coaching and teaching. I love that part of the role immensely but I also enjoy the other side of the job which focuses on administrative aspects. I am inundated with emails regarding fixtures for 2020. This is the nature of the beast and it is important to stay ahead of the game. I have been pleased with the development of the sport at the school over the last four years and we have continued to grow each year and other greater sporting provision. This is the key goal and I am always striving for little improvements across the curriculum.
It is important to stick by your principals and ensure that every child is catered for but there is equal opportunity for both participation and those more competitive. Balance is a key thing and it is essential to offer numerous opportunities. I reference the quote from Sophocles, “opportunity is the best captain of all endeavour”. Sport is clearly not for every child. However, if they can enjoy one sport and this provides lifelong participation then that is comparable to the sportier child who represents every A team. I certainly feel that sport provides so many valuable lessons and the importance of health and fitness is an essential cog in the wheel for a healthy mind.
After all the admin is done it is great to get the first fixtures underway. For the first time in ten years, I have moved from teaching boys’ rugby to girls’ hockey. This is exciting and I am relishing the fresh challenge. Again, I feel it is crucial within the teaching world to keep evolving and ensure I am challenged. I teach at my best when I have that little spark and have the excitement in my delivery. My U11As have their first tournament of the term away at Kings Bruton school. This is a prestigious one with a number of bigger schools. My girls are particularly strong this year and are one of our more competitive teams. It is nice as director of sport to work with them and provide an environment in which they can develop and fulfil their potential both individually and as a team. We fortunately go on to win it which is a major coup for the size of our school. The best bit is seeing the excitement on the faces and the realisation they have had a good afternoon’s work.
I have no school. Occasionally, there may be a morning fixture but these are fairly rare. The weekends for me revolve around family and it is the perfect way to cap off an incredibly busy week of the new academic year.
I look forward to next week and the lap top and thought of work is pushed to one side until Sunday afternoon. I feel incredibly fortunate to do something I am passionate about and enjoy. There is nothing more rewarding than helping a child learn something for the first time or improve or like my U11As have a good afternoon of successful sport.
A LIFE IN THE WEEK OF