A life in the week of Seth Simmons, PE teacher and head of cricket at St Lawrence College in Ramsgate, Kent
This morning’s alarm clock (my daughter) was a great reminder that we are now at the furthest point away from the weekend. St Lawrence College is only a short drive so before I know it I'm in the staff common room with a much-needed coffee. After principal’s assembly and teaching a year 10 GCSE theory lesson, I make my way to my office to get changed and play several games of squash against fellow colleagues. Yet another Monday morning where I have proved to myself that I am not getting any younger nor better at squash. Chasing a rubber ball around in a room for an hour seems illogical but I’ve already convinced myself that next week will be better. Late morning and early afternoon is spent marking, planning and contacting schools to arrange this summer’s cricket fixtures. After lunch I fulfill a pastoral duty followed by year 7 & 8 girls’ hockey training. Before I go home to continue marking and planning, I teach another GCSE academic lesson from 4.35-5.10pm and then hold a strength and conditioning session in the gym for one of my cricket scholars. You will have to ask him if he enjoyed it!
Tuesday is a long but enjoyable day. My legs are telling me that yesterday’s squash was not the best of ideas. Teaching A-level theory is the first thing of the day and I'm busy all the way through to lunch by having another pastoral duty and year 9 rugby training. I have a great year 10 rugby session after lunch as the U15 rugby boys are a top bunch who work hard and today’s session is no different. After school I make my way back to the sports hall to do two one-on-one net sessions with two of our cricket scholars. We have county cricketers at every age group so it’s important to find time to give them additional help and guidance. Great to have pupils willing to stay after school until almost 8pm to improve their skill set. I’ve always believed that coaching is one of those jobs where your professional effectiveness is almost always measured by something that is very often totally out of your control - winning and losing. So, as always, this afternoon’s sessions are based on pushing the individual and challenge them to push themselves to be the best they can be. If they continuously do this, then winning and losing is irrelevant.
I am glad I have a good breakfast as today is my busiest day thus far. Arriving at 7.30am, taking registration, attending chapel, teaching year 10, then year 11 GCSE academic PE and fulfilling another pastoral duty during break time, I then finally sit down and continue to regret Monday’s squash session. In the afternoon, I enjoy coaching the U13 girls hockey team, many of whom I am confident will find success through the years. Our schools’ cricket academy restarts from 6pm to 7.30pm today. Fourteen of our most talented cricketers from the ages of 11 to 15 attend and, with the support of fellow coaches Geraint Jones (ex England Ashes winner) and Chris Kidd (Broadstairs CC) we work hard to prepare them for the upcoming season. Prior to the start of the cricket academy, we run the SLC wicketkeeping school which is for any aspiring or current wicketkeepers. What an opportunity for our pupils being coached by Geraint Jones. I wish I had had these opportunities when I was at school.
After skipping breakfast this morning (as my gannet of a daughter has eaten everything in the cupboards), I take the short journey back into work. Today is my ‘catch up day’ with planning, marking and arranging cricket fixtures, pre-season tours and one-on-ones. I start to prepare for another training session with the U15 rugby boys which will prepare them for Saturday’s fixture. After school from 5.15pm to 6.30pm is the U13 & U15 girls’ cricket training. This year we have started girls cricket for the first time in the school’s 138-year history. Never knowing what numbers to expect, it was fantastic that we had almost 20 girls attend. After coaching the girls, I turn my focus on more one-on-one net sessions with our cricket scholars. Once again it is great to see pupils willing to stay until 8pm to further develop. I hope they reap the rewards for their efforts. They deserve to.
I spring out of bed this morning because Friday is fish and chip day at lunch time and the morning is a blur up until this point. I have lots of sport after lunch which starts with U13 girls’ hockey, followed by the cricket sports excellence programme at 4pm. This is for our top cricketers in the senior school and it never disappoints. We work on playing spin both on the front foot and back foot and it is great to see such young promising cricketers enjoying their sport whilst pushing themselves in every aspect of their game. More one-on-one net sessions with our cricket scholars follow. It’s a late evening but worth it when I see the improvements made in these cricketers.
Saturday is game day and definitely the highlight of the week. However first things first. I teach a year 11 GCSE theory lesson at 9am followed by year 7 & 8 cricket junior development programme session which is for any pupil who wants to practise their cricket skill set. Like the sports excellence programme, this runs throughout the entire year so it gives every pupil participating every opportunity to do well come the season. Lunch goes down a treat and now I’m fully focused on this afternoon’s U15 rugby match. A scintillating performance from the boys through a great team effort allow them to go into the weekend on a high. After a busy yet successful week, I arrive home to have a beer or two whilst replaying the week in my head and wondering if a 70 hour week is all worth it. Of course it is.
After a cup of coffee, marking, planning and continuing to arrange cricket fixtures, I spend the afternoon with my gannet daughter and wonderful wife. I’m all set to be woken up again tomorrow by my daughter and have another go on the squash court. I don’t ache anymore. Surely that’s a sign I’m going to win?
A LIFE IN THE WEEK OF