Guest post by Jasmine Chawla, Grade 12
North Delta Secondary School
North Delta Secondary teacher coaches build relationships that go deeper than the game with students.
Teacher coaches play an important role in students’ lives because of their consistent presence, both during and after school. Their advice helps inspire students to rise up and become better athletes and people.
Practice after practice, students work hard to improve their game, and coaches work hard to help athletes bring their “A” game. However, at North Delta, teacher coaches strive to go beyond the game and lift their players up in a way that will last a lifetime.
Gary Sandhu has been coaching Basketball for eight years, and has coached Volleyball for three years at North Delta. In addition to that, he is also leads the Husky Athletic Council outside school hours.
Sandhu has been coaching basketball to the same group of athletes since they first entered high school in grade eight, and has seen tremendous growth in his players over the years.
“They have grown a lot more mature since grade eight. I have seen major improvements not only in their game but also their grades and academics. It’s a pleasure to see how much they have grown since they first entered through the front two doors of high school. It has truly been a beautiful journey,” says Sandhu.
He adds, “It all started when I was in high school student. I always respected and admired my coaches because they were also my teachers. Their advice helped me become a better athlete and a student. I understand the importance of helping students outside of school because it helps build a level of trust with them. I want to pay what I have learned from my teachers forward, to the students and athletes I coach”.
The time Gary Sandhu has invested has greatly influenced Armaan Johal, a grade 12 student at ND, who has demonstrated outstanding performance off and on the court. Johal has been on the basketball team since grade eight and his game has improved tremendously since then.
“I have been coached in basketball by Mr. Sandhu and Mr. Hundal since grade eight. It has been a pleasure to be coached by them for all these years, and I have built a special relationship with them,” said Johal.
Johal says he has changed as a person vastly, and it all started a couple of years ago when he had a talk with Mr. Sandhu about his behaviour after getting into a fight during a basketball game against another athlete.
“I had a chat with Mr. Hundal and Mr. Sandhu after that game about that fight. That one talk really made me reflect on who I was as a person, and it slowly brought a change within me,” says Johal.
“A couple of years ago, the value of education meant nothing to me, and I was heading towards a life that would have been very harmful for me in the near future. However, just constantly being around them and listening to the advice they offered has changed me as a whole. I am just so grateful for their support. They’re like father figures in my life—I consider them my second [and third] dads.”
Johal is thankful for this, and adds, “Mr. Sandhu has taught me how to stay grounded and down to earth when we are winning and playing well. I have seen myself improve all these years, not just as an athlete but also as a person.”