If you are anything like me, you are sick with “World Cup Fever”. I was one of the nearly 9 million people in the United States that tuned in (or logged on) to watch Monday’s USA v. Ghana match. I have seen 7 complete matches so far and have watched extensive highlights from other games. Reflecting on the tournament thus far, I’ve had a few thoughts that might be a useful perspective for educators:
1.) Soccer is a team sport. It is 11 players coming together for one goal. It’s wonderful to see the team beat as one and support each other in good and bad. The idea that the team is unable to succeed without the other is a great concept to bring to the classroom. Unity can help all learners feel supported by their peers and their teacher.
2.) Don’t you hate it when a player takes a dive? It’s annoying and it soils the game. Faking an injury just to gain an advantage is so dishonest. A dive usually has fans of both teams up in arms. As educators it is so important to maintain our integrity because when we take a dive, the ones who suffer are our students.
3.) It’s hard not to notice the grand display of national pride. It’s fun and it’s festive! Wearing red, white, and blue might be a small gesture but when an entire stadium is doing it, it can be a game changer. Take pride in all the little things you do in your classroom. It could make a huge difference.
4.) Anyone watch the Switzerland v. Ecuador game on Saturday, June 14? That game set a new record as the Swiss scored a game winning goal in the third minute of stoppage time. The lesson here: Never give up! How many times have we heard students say, “I’ll never get it.”? Let’s teach our kids what perseverance can do!
5.) Soccer is a sport of second chances. Yes, there are certain fouls that will get you an automatic red card, but most of the time, we see a yellow card, a warning. We get a second chance to play well. But what the card system teaches us is that we have to learn from our mistakes because mistakes have consequences. Getting two yellow cards in a game will equal a red. You are sent off the pitch leaving your team to play down a person.
6.) I BELIEVE THAT WE WILL WIN! The US team is chanting it. The fans are chanting it. Twitter is chanting it. Belief in oneself is not everything but it’s a huge help. That mental edge can be a factor in a match. I’m pretty sure Switzerland believed in themselves (see point #4). Ask any teacher you know and they will tell you that confidence can be the difference in whether a student passes or fails an exam. Empower you students to believe in themselves in all that they do.
Of course, I’ve also thought about how you could incorporate the World Cup into the classroom. Being that most schools are already done for the year (or almost there!), it would be hard to use the World Cup to teach across the curriculum but it was certainly fun to think about all the great things History, Geography, Social Studies, Foreign Language, and Physical Education teachers could be doing in their classrooms. How are you celebrating the World Cup?