Adam RubinsteinAdam Rubinstein

Coach, Coach, Look at Me!

Jim came to me with his memoir, a manuscript of about 500 pages. About four months later, I returned him a full-fledged book, of about 300 pages. I edited substantially, for content, tone, grammar and cleanliness; photographed, retouched and prepared more than 100 archival photos for black-and-white publication; and designed the book from cover to cover. Jim was an absolute joy to work with, and I cried every time I finished a draft.

 

Pages 129–130, Jim’s original text:

As if I did not have enough on my plate, Agnes Redmond, principal at Whittier, called me into the office in 2002 and said, “Coach Ciccarello, you are going to spend part of your teaching day at Bandelier Elementary.” What? – Was my reaction to that statement.

How could that be? I was just developing the track and field program at La Cueva High School and the jump rope team was getting better at Whittier. Agnes said, “Bandelier has 300 more students than we do, and you need to go and help the physical education teacher there so he can have a break. You will teach eight classes here and then drive over to Bandelier and teach two more PE classes.” All I could think of at the moment was the fact that APS was adding more to my work load and I would have a hard time fitting it all in. I knew the budget was tight but could they give me a break and find someone else to do this?

The next week I went over to Bandelier and met the principal, Mrs. Dennis, and they gave me a tour of the campus. Bandelier, like Whittier was located in the Southeast heights and it was an older school having been built in the 1940’s. The two schools were a mile apart and, as I will describe later, many more miles apart in school population makeup. People were very friendly and they welcomed me with a great attitude. When we went over to the new gym, built just a couple years earlier, I met Chris Jarvis. Chris was the current PE teacher and he was in his second year at Bandelier. He had formerly been a classroom teacher and decided to go into the gym and try his hand at physical education. His schedule was such that he needed a break just to eat lunch as he had nonstop PE classes from 9:00am till 3:45pm. The idea was that I would provide that break and I also would contribute to working a couple of extra PE classes that we might team teach. Mrs. Redmond would allow me to leave Whittier at 12:30 pm each day and being as Bandelier was only a few minutes away I could be ready to teach by 12:45 pm.

After meeting with Chris Jarvis, I was struck by how professional and easy going he was. I could sense that we would get along and cooperate. Many times when teachers work in close proximity to each other there is a friction that disrupts the educational process. He was in a learning mode and I could tell he would pick my brain and experience. I would rely on his self-contained classroom experience and youth. Chris was in his early 30’s, and was entering the physical education field for the first time. I was more than 30 years older than Chris. The age gap was no hindrance. By the way, I have always said, “you can teach old dogs new tricks.” In reality I was the “old dog” and he was the young puppy!

Chris had heard of our jump rope team at Whittier and wanted something similar at his school. My first reaction was to balk at another extra job to do. But, with further thought, I figured maybe we can enhance the program by joining them together. I agreed to do it as long as we called it a dual team effort. We would be the Whittier/Bandelier jump rope team. At times, Bandelier would perform alone and at times Whittier would also perform alone. We designed new shirts with each school’s own name on the front and both names on the back. This sounded like a great idea. Now all we had to do was train the Bandelier kids to jump!

Pages 129–130, my edited text:

As if I did not have enough on my plate, Agnes Redmond, principal at Whittier, called me into the office in 2002 and said, “Coach Ciccarello, you are going to spend part of your teaching day at Bandelier Elementary.”

How could that be? I was just developing the track and field program at La Cueva, and the jump-rope team was getting better at Whittier! “But,” Agnes said, “Bandelier has 300 more students than we do, and you need to go and help the PE teacher there so he can have a break. You will teach eight classes here and then drive over to Bandelier and teach two more.” All I could think was that APS was adding more work, and I would have a hard time fitting it all in. I knew the budget was tight, but couldn’t they find someone else to do this?

The next week Bandelier’s principal, Mrs. Dennis, gave me a tour of the campus. Like Whittier, it was located in the Southeast Heights, and an older school, built in the 1940s. The two were a mile apart, and many more in demographics. People were very friendly and they welcomed me with a great attitude.

We went into the new gym, built just a few years earlier, where I met Chris Jarvis. Chris was the current PE teacher and in his second year at Bandelier. He had formerly been a classroom teacher and was trying his hand at physical education. He had nonstop classes from 9:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m., and he needed a break to eat lunch, which I would provide, and team-teach a few classes with him. I had a 15-minute window to get from Whittier to Bandelier.
Chris struck me with his professionalism and easy-going attitude. I knew we would get along. Many times when teachers work closely, some friction can disrupt the educating. But Chris was in a learning mode. I would rely on his youth and classroom experience, and he would rely on my years of coaching experience. You can teach old dogs new tricks, but old dogs can teach the young pups, too!

Chris had heard of our jump-rope team and wanted to try something similar. I balked at first, but with further thought, I figured we could join our groups. I agreed to it explicitly as a team effort: the Whittier/Bandelier Jump-Rope Team. At times, each team would perform alone, but more often, together. We designed new shirts with each school’s name on the front, and both names on the back. Now all we had to do was train the Bandelier kids to jump!

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