I’VE LEARNT MORE THAN THE PUPILS
WHEN I finished my professional playing career I taught in a secondary school – it didn’t last long because, honestly, I hated it.
I thought, ‘Because I was a footballer they will love me’. That lasted about two days.
I could tell a few stories about playing against Manchester United that impressed them. After they’d heard that once or twice they didn’t care.
Then it’s a case of how you relate to people. That’s the only way I got through that time. I’ve always been good with people.
If an Ofsted inspector or experienced teacher came into my lessons they’d think they were horrendous.
But I managed to control them and get through stuff because I could talk to the kids more on their level than I could the teachers!
I was essentially more used to their environment.
There was one occasion where I was trying to get a lad to do something, but he refused. He wasn’t showing me any respect so, unprofessional I know, I called him a d***head. I was trying to talk to him on his level.
He wasn’t showing me any respect so I didn’t show him any. I’m sure that would be frowned upon, but he did what I asked in the end.
While teaching wasn’t an experience I enjoyed – and at the time I didn’t know how I was going to get through each day – on reflection it’s massively helped my coaching.
How many kids want to actually be at school – 50 per cent? At the school I was at I’d say it’s even less.
One big difference is our players want to be there because they are desperate to be professional footballers.
I certainly don’t call anyone a d***head these days!
BIG NIGHT: Ben Smith, left, played at Old Trafford in the FA Cup with Crawley Town