What is passion? Can it be defined? Well, it is certainly a love for what we do in our free time, but also for what we do professionally. Passions and interests shape us as people, that’s why it’s worth looking for them and developing our skills, so that they could be used for our benefit in the future. When I was a child I wasn’t much interested in sports and I definitely regret it right now. I always admire and I am a little bit jealous while seeing all these individuals who started their adventures with various sports disciplines in their childhood and pass on the teaching while being adults.
Bowling is a kind of sport which is ideal for all those of you, who love spending their time with a group of friends, not only pleasantly, but also actively. What if you could do it more professionally? Obviously, being professional in what we do motivates us to work even harder and inspires others to follow our steps and gain even more spectacular successes. Today, I’m truly pleased to introduce you to Nicole Pocklington – a happy wife, history and social studies teacher, as well as a bowling coach. My today’s interviewee will tell you a little bit about how she started her adventure with bowling, what is her biggest coaching success and about some of her plans for the future.
Passion Piece: Could you tell my readers a few words about yourself?
Nicole: My name is Nicole and I’m a social studies teacher in Washington state. I got married in July of 2019 to my husband, who is an English teacher.
Passion Piece: You’re not only a full time high school teacher but also a bowling coach. What came first?
Nicole: I’ve been bowling for nearly 20 years, but began coaching those on my college team. After college, I got my first teaching job and for the first year, I focused on teaching, but helped out with the bowling team some – usually on match days. The following year, the head coach position opened up at my school, I knew I wanted to coach!
Passion Piece: Are teenagers interested in history? How do you try to present it to them so that they are not discouraged easily?
Nicole: A lot of students don’t understand the importance of history and social studies. They feel that it doesn’t apply to their lives, so one way I present it is through connections to current events to show that it connects to today. Another thing I do is I try to provide choice to my students and make student-centered activities, not the stereotypical read the textbook and lecture that people often think of with history.
Passion Piece: I find your outside school activity quite interesting. How did your adventure with bowling and coaching start?
Nicole: When I was seven, my mom asked me if I wanted to start bowling, as she started when she was seven. So I said yes – I wanted to be like my mom! So Saturday mornings, I woke up early and went to bowling league. When high school started, I joined the bowling team and was on varsity my freshman year. During high school bowling, I would help coach my teammates because I had the most experience and may notice things they didn’t. I went to college and was on the club team there, where we coached ourselves essentially. Now I bowl on a league a couple nights a week and still participate in a few tournaments a year.
Passion Piece: Who do you usually train?
Nicole: Right now, I work with our school’s bowling team. So freshmen to seniors. I have all kinds of ranges of skills, from those who have their own equipment and have been bowling for years to beginners! It’s fun to help my athletes develop their skills and watch how they get better over the season.
Passion Piece: What’s your greatest coaching success?
Nicole: My first year of coaching (2019), our team got 2nd at state, the highest in school history. Then this year, my top bowler, who is also my little sister, placed 1st at state. That by far is my best accomplishment, having my sister placed 1st and be named champion. Now I want her to repeat it next year!
Passion Piece: What advice would you give to everyone who would like to take up bowling? Are there any challenges in this sport?
Nicole: If you’re interested in bowling, make sure you have a couple of basics down with your form: end on the opposite foot of your bowling arm (you’re more likely to hit your leg!) and keep a loose swing – don’t muscle the ball! The hardest part of bowling is you have to give mental toughness. You’re your biggest opponent.
Passion Piece: You decided to set up your own blog ‘Behind the classroom’. Who are your target readers?
Nicole: For the most part, my target readers would be teachers, but I also blog about finance and self-care. So it can really apply to anyone!
Passion Piece: What kind of articles do you share on your website? What do you mainly focus on?
Nicole: I mainly focus on what happens outside the classroom. Most of the time, people forget that teachers are people too. We have debt from school, we like to binge-watch Netflix, we are dealing with family and work balance too. So I talk about all those things – lifestyle, for teachers!
Passion Piece: How would you like to develop your blog?
Nicole: As I’ve just begun at the end of February, right now, I’m focusing on writing and building up on Pinterest. Eventually, I want to provide resources to help make life easier, for teachers and non-teachers.
Passion Piece: What do you like doing in your free time? Is there something you couldn’t live without?
Nicole: Right now, my husband and I are really into renovating our house. We’ve redone our bathroom and are getting ready to redo our back room. We’ve also done a lot of landscaping in our yard – created a garden, a patio, and redid our flower beds. Other than that, we like to walk our dogs or go hiking as the Pacific Northwest has gorgeous areas!
Passion Piece: Where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time?
Nicole: Oh sheesh – teaching at the same school as my husband, we have some kids, I’m still blogging and have a good following (fingers crossed). We have a house that’s fits our family cause the current one couldn’t haha. Still coaching bowling, hopefully with a team state championship under my belt!
Passion Piece: Which motto would you like to share with my readers?
Nicole: Be kind – you never know what someone is going through or what they’re stressing about.
Passion Piece: Thank you very much for this truly inspiring conversation and I wish you all the best not only in your teaching career, but also in the coaching one.
I hope that Nicole has inspired lots of parents and parents-to-be to make an effort to encourage their kids to find interesting passions, which could benefit in the future and not only change their lives, but also help others to become a better version of themselves. And you? Are you the hero of your own life?
See you around!
Photos by: Nicole Pocklington