|• Spring 2003||Magazine Archive & Search • Muhlenberg Home|
“A couple of the students at Trexler had come to games, and one girl said ‘Miss Malatack, do I know you from somewhere?’ And then some other kid said ‘She’s number 33 on the basketball team!’ So then they all knew about it and they were asking me about the Scotty Wood Tournament.
“That kind of stuff actually ended up working out well,” concludes Malatack. “Not every kid is an athletic fan, but some of them are, and some of them have a little more respect for you.”
Jacobs may have been less immediately recognized as an athlete, but the students soon learned. “It didn’t help that the only winter jacket I had was my wrestling jacket,” he says with a laugh. “I had to wear that to school every day.
“I think it helped especially at Parkland, because they asked questions about how to pick colleges. They’re at that stage where they’re applying and deciding whether or not they want to play sports in college.”
Malatack’s juggling act between basketball and teaching did not end with the coming of the spring semester. In order to receive their certification, aspiring teachers must take a series of tests after their student teaching. Malatack arranged to take one of hers at King’s College in Wilkes-Barre the second weekend in January – while the Mules were there for a tournament. She took the test, quickly changed into her uniform, and walked over a few buildings in time to join her team for the second half of their game.
As well as that worked out, the ultimate feat of balancing teaching with athletics may belong to Laura Roth ’01. Roth was a rare exception in that she did her entire student teaching while her sport – track and field – was in season.
Track athletes have two advantages when it comes to doing both: their meets are usually on Saturdays, and they can be given individual workouts to do on their own.
That was what Roth did, but a Friday-night indoor meet at Kutztown threw a wrench into the schedule. Driving herself to the meet after her school day ended, Roth arrived just minutes before her event was to start – and wound up breaking the school record in the 800 meters.
“It was hard a couple of times,” says Roth, now a teacher of English as a second language at Pocono Mountain East High School, of her student teaching. “I constantly talked to my cooperative teachers and said ‘If you feel like I’m not doing a good job because of track, let me know.’
“I think it helped being an athlete. Athletes have to have good time management skills to begin with. I had friends in the education program who didn’t play sports or have other activities and they still had trouble getting everything done.”
All Muhlenberg students in the education program learn of its intensity, especially when they talk to fellow student teachers from other schools, and Roth has seen its value first-hand. “It’s very competitive for teaching positions,” she says, “And I know for a fact that Muhlenberg people are looked highly upon. [Employers] put Muhlenberg people on a different pile.”
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