Allison Hunt is a teacher at DuPont Manual High School in Jefferson County, Kentucky. She is an NBCTwith an MAT in social studies from the University of Louisville. She wrote this reflection on hearing of the death of legendary basketball coach Dean Smith.

She writes:

“Sports commentators have emphasized Dean Smith’s practices more than they have focused on his games. The practices, according to reporters and former players, were carefully planned. He also did not hesitate to be innovative, informed by his knowledge of his players and their strengths and weaknesses. As teachers, we need to focus less on the assessments themselves and more on the lessons that lead to the assessments. We, like Smith, must carefully plan every minute of instruction and we must also make sure that we know our students and creatively maximize their strengths to overcome their weaknesses. What is our level of effectiveness in day-to-day lessons? Are we willing to be innovative and take risks?

“Former National Player of the Year Jerry Stackhouse, when reflecting on Dean Smith, said, “It was always about the players.” There is no doubt that Dean Smith wanted to win and, in fact, had to in order to keep his position as head coach, but he did not let the accountability detract from what he needed to be to his players. As teachers, we must not forget it should always be about the students, not about the assessments. We must be what we need to be for our students—not just for the stars or those who struggle, but for each and every student. All students needs to know that we put them first. Will your students reflect on your teaching and say it was always about the students? “