Kansas State University


College of Education

Teaching…Outside the Classroom

Will Clark, with a junior high basketball team he coaches.
Will Clark, (front row, right) with a junior high basketball team he coaches.

Will Clark, recent KSU COE graduate with a degree in social studies secondary education, lives in Oakley, KS, where he’s not exactly in a classroom, but he’s still teaching.

“Upon graduation from K-State, I decided to change directions regarding a career, and am now an insurance agent with clients in Kansas, Colorado, and Nebraska,” Will said. “Teaching did not go completely go by the wayside, however, as I was privileged to help coach Jr. High and High School homeschool boys’ basketball teams this past winter. Our teams competed in the National Division II Christian Homeschool Association tournament held in McPherson, which hosted 72 teams this year. While we had the typical ups and downs of a season, it was a good year as we worked through different situations and circumstances that were a good learning experience about what life is all about. In addition, I recently began substitute teaching in my local public school, and I am enjoying being able to interact with students again, learning right along beside them!”

He says he’s making use of all the knowledge and skills he gained in the COE.

“​A key component of working with individuals, (whether in insurance or any other setting), is learning how they process and understand information,” he said. “Being a KSU COE graduate truly has helped me to be able to step into the shoes of my clients, basketball players, and students, and see information from their perspective. Working with visual clients, for example, tells me that I need to present as much information in graph or pictorial form as possible in order for the information to ‘click.’ Some basketball players can hear what I say and immediately apply it on the court, while others need me to show them how the play works before they can do it themselves.

“The COE has provided me with the tools to effectively and efficiently gauge the thought patterns of individuals in various situations and then help me respond in a manner that directs our collective efforts and energies in a productive manner,” he continued. “As one of five coaches on the boys’ basketball team, it was necessary for all of us to be on the same page in practices, during games, and in other discussions. The COE efforts throughout my teaching experiences in college prepared me well to collaborate with my fellow coaches in ensuring that everything ran smoothly and efficiently throughout the season. We received compliments throughout the season about how well the teams seemed to work together, and I credit my small contribution on the team to the training received at K-State.”

Through his experiences, he says interaction with parents is a key to helping their children succeed.

“Just a note of encouragement: Most parents want what is best for their children and are often willing to go to great lengths to provide whatever they can for their youngsters. This is usually more so in a homeschool setting, and working with parents to raise their children in this environment can be challenging (various tastes, personalities, and so on), but highly rewarding, as well. I would encourage teachers in whatever setting they are in, if an opportunity to interact with your students’ parents arises–take advantage of it and encourage that parent to be active in their child’s life and in your classroom, if possible. You may gain a tremendous benefit from being proactive in engaging parents with their children’s learning!”