My old middle school had an FLL robotics team and it has been around for a while. Robotics popularity is gaining where I live and now the school district is trying to get the teacher who was doing FLL to start an FTC team. What the district doesn’t realize, though, is that FTC is a really big commitment. This teacher is perfectly willing to do it, as long as he has someone to take over the FLL team. No other teacher or parent is willing to step up to coach and he really need help, does anyone have any advice for finding someone do this job?
The problem is he needs a coach for the FLL team, not just a few mentors. Our FRC team has no one over 18 to coach. Our old coach that is hoping to do FTC puts in so many extra hours that he wouldn’t have time to coach 2 teams.
Well to solve the “over 18” problem, our team has 1 designated “coach” who basically takes the roll of coach, and then some of our team members be “mentors” for the different teams. Us “mentors” do most of the meetings and help the kids out most the time, and our coach just acts like a coach and does all the paperwork, etc.
I feel like you are vastly underestimating the time commitment of “just a coach.” I know when I was in FLL, my coach put in a ton of his time. The other coaches I worked with when I mentored while I was in FRC also put in quite a bit of time.
Most schools and a lot of other groups require an adult be present whenever team members are meeting. “Just a coach”, even if not directing operations, has to be in attendance. The time commitment is still there, even if duties are not.
We run into this situation frequently in our area, where the parents really want to have their children in FLL, but none of them are willing to put the effort in and actually let the team flourish. I cannot even begin to recall the number of potential teams over the years that have not formed because nobody steps forward to take the coaching position.
We have gotten into the habbit of having all of the interested families give us their email, and when no parent is interested we explain the situation to them, saying that unless one or more of them steps up the team cannot start. That usually brings results. In this we normally describe our willingness to help and offer the initial assistance of a former or current FLL coach, the help of FRC or FTC mentors, and we normally say that it is easier when the parents take different positions. One as Coach (paperwork and runs meetings), Assistant Coach (self explanatory), Photographer (I hope this is explanatory also), A snack provider (based on your meeting schedule).
Taking the effort to get the parents to understand the situation they are in and the potential the program has for all of their students, is 100% worth it!
Petrie, we have exactly that situation in our small town. Everybody seems to want it, but when it comes time to step up and do it, nobody will. (“I’m too busy” is the most common excuse – I know it’s mine… But I have one full time and three part time jobs and coach an FRC team!)
LedLover, if school regulations on who can be the coach is a problem, consider approaching 4-H. They’re working with me on founding an FRC team, and I know they’re involved in several FLL teams in the area.
In my first year on an FLL team, the team was run exclusively by high school students acting as mentors. When we signed up they required us to have one of our parents agree to “chaperone” the team at a portion of the practices. The parents would then rotate each practice, thus avoiding the time committment issue. The official coach for the team was usually the principal for the school, they simply would just put their name on the program and then sign stuff if necessary, but the mentors handled all of the administrative duties. This isn’t the ideal program but it worked well enough.