The Blog

The Classroom Coach: Jerome Clemons

What does it take to be a great coach? One of the key components to great coaching is learning to be a trusted guide. At their core, a coach must consider constantly communicating positive praise.

The advice I would give educators and parents about being a trusted adult for students to come to when they need someone to talk to, is to always have the mindset and intentions of a trusted coach. Like a teacher, a coach should help develop and motivate the whole child.

As a fan of the etymology of words, it is not surprising that the word coach, according to the etymology dictionary, means an “instructor or trainer.” The word was first documented in this context at Oxford University circa 1830. It is slang for a tutor who “carries” a student through an exam. A great coach does just that: guides, counsels, leads, mentors, pilots, shepherds, teaches, and tutors.

Hopefully at some point in everyone’s adolescence, or life, they are influenced by a great coach who helps shape their character, decision making, and guides them towards their dreams. I know that I am thankful for a number of coaches who helped me reach my goals and develop positive character traits. Through great programs like Classroom Champions and DC SCORES, I have been able to help coach students in learning how to making sound, healthy decisions in the classroom and in their community.

As a teacher, I know that students at all levels are constantly faced with making tough decisions. Just like they use their ability to evaluate while taking a standardized test, the students I coach must determine the best move while playing on the field. Many youth must also deal with peer pressures of drinking alcohol from people in their communities. As a parent, teacher, and coach I want to develop within my youth the instincts and integrity to make the right decisions in any environment. I want them to know that when faced with tough decisions, first and foremost, don’t be afraid to communicate your thoughts and emotions. Second, think like a leader and stay positive. Finally, I always like to remind my students about the quote from our Classroom Champions athlete mentor April Holmes,“Let’s make greatness a habit.” Greatness in any endeavor requires a commitment to a higher set of standards.

During the month of March I found it important to talk to students about World Water Day, celebrated by the United Nations on March 22, 2015. In the classroom and on the field we discussed why having clean drinking water was necessary and important to appreciate. As a coach I want to always reiterate the importance of drinking clean water daily. I want to make sure students know why around the world clean drinking water is critical to everyone’s survival. According to the United Nations on average, nearly 1,000 children die every day from diseases linked to unsafe drinking water. We learned why water is important for our bodies. Did you know that 66% of the human body and 75% of the human brain is composed of water? According to the EPA Environmental Protection Agency, water also regulates the temperature of the human body, carries nutrients and oxygen to cells, cushions joints, protects organs and tissues, and removes waste.

April is Alcohol #Responsibility Month. This connects perfectly with the Classroom Champions’ monthly theme of Healthy Living and the beginning of the spring DC SCORES season in order to help youth make the right decisions about alcohol and peer pressure. I think it is important for parents, teachers, and coaches to instill in youth the importance of being knowledgeable of the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle. That is, being active and not drinking underage.

A great coach provides advice that can help you your entire life! If you are a trusted adult like a parent, coach, or teacher always communicate and praise your children, team, or class. Teach the importance of sound decision making and having good healthy habits. There is no better way to start the discussion of healthy living than over a glass of clean drinking water.

Check out what Mr. Clemons’ class did to celebrate friendship!



Jerome Clemons is a Classroom Champions and DC SCORES participating teacher at Imagine Hope Community Charter School in Washington, DC.
*The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility ( or any member.*