Kristin Bowman ('70)

I am a Teacher, I am a Coach

Kristin BowmanKristin Bowman graduated from the McKay School of Education with a major in special education. She taught in schools for only a brief time, but she says her positive experiences at the McKay School of Education directly affect her life, as she is constantly teaching in one setting or another.

One of the most striking examples of her out-of-school teaching involves coaching softball. When Bowman’s daughter was in second grade she wanted to play softball, and since Bowman wanted to participate with her daughter, she volunteered to coach. “[My team members] were very young and had no clue about the game,” recalls Bowman. “I decided right away I had to do something different to be successful.”

Kristin Bowman employed three main educational strategies in teaching her team. First, before going out on the field she conducted a “chalk talk” to explain the game of softball in detail. She broke the game into easy-to-learn parts, explaining things such as what was expected for each position and how to make an out. 

“As a result, I didn’t have to yell new instructions when they were in the field,” she notes.

Next, Bowman applied the educational concept of centers. She divided the team into three groups to rotate and practice different skills. And, finally, she taught her young athletes self-correction. Ms. Bowman explains,

“I believe strongly in preserving self esteem. Being criticized in from of people causes unnecessary embarrassment. Learning shuts down when children are embarrassed."

When a player makes a mistake, Bowman would ask what the child would do differently the next time. It became a habit for the players to analyze and correct their mistakes. 

The teaching tactics were successful. Four out of the five years that Bowman coached, her team won the league championship. They played in the champion- ship game all five years.

Bowman has applied her teaching skills to many areas, including Church callings and family. She concludes,

“I know that I use teaching skills every single day. It’s exciting to have a favorable impact on children as they learn new things and develop a positive self- concept. I feel successful as a coach, parent, and grandparent because I was first a teacher.”