Student teaching, coaching keeps Wade moving

Amanda Wade
Amanda Wade

Amanda Wade is off and running. Try to keep up.

This academic year, the senior physical and health education teaching major is managing a hectic schedule. That’s putting it lightly. She just began student teaching at Glenvar Middle School and will be there for 8 weeks. Her second placement is at Mason’s Cove Elementary School beginning in March. She has two separate placements – that is so she can be certified to teach K-12 – and she is serving as the assistant coach of outdoor track and field at Glenvar High School.

Amanda’s schedule is grueling, but she’s done it all before, putting in the time and mileage for a few years now.

For the past three years, Amanda has been attending college – commuting 35 minutes each way from her home in Salem and back – while serving as boy’s and girl’s cross country head coach and assistant track coach at Glenvar, her high school alma mater. She coaches high school and middle school teams – that’s almost 40 athletes. While doing so, she’s managed to maintain a near 4.0 GPA.

“That’s extraordinary,” said Health and Human Performance Instructor Steve Shelton. “Student-teaching, alone, is highly demanding. To put coaching on top of that is so demanding and there’s little time for anything else.”

Coaching, for Amanda, is not limited to standing trackside during meets. She leads by example.

“I do all the runs and practices with my athletes,” she said. “If they run five miles one day, I run five miles. If they run hills, I run hills.”

In all, she logs about 25 miles a week, pounding the asphalt, hills and stadium steps.

Out of breath yet? Amanda isn’t. She's resilient, an essential characteristic of a Highlander.

Amanda keeps going because this is her passion. “I love it, and I love working with the kids,” she said. 

Dedication to her coaching role has shown in her teams’ results. Last year, her girls’ high school team finished third in the state finals – “that was my preseason goal,” she said. Her boy’s team also achieved great success as they qualified for state for the first time since 1987. A boy and two of the girls were named to the all-state team. One of those girls plans to attend Radford University.

That’s Amanda. She’s a coach, mentor and a recruiter. She finds time to tell her athletes about her university because she has learned so much at Radford and in the physical and health education program.

“This program has taught me a lot of things, including how to be disciplined,” Amanda said. “Through my classes, I’ve learned what it means to be an effective teacher and what it means to be a professional educator.”

As she transitioned away from her fall semester responsibilities, Amanda pondered what was ahead: coaching track and field at Glenvar and student teaching.

“I’m confident I can handle it,” she said. “In my experiences here at Radford, I’ve already gotten a chance to go out and practice teaching through my methods class. My classes here have taught me so much. I’ve been coaching since I was 18, and I know the time commitment it takes to be a good coach.”

Amanda is scheduled to graduate in May, and she plans to pursue a health education teaching position close to home in Salem. Glenvar Middle or High School is her wish. She will finish at Radford with a minor, an extra 18 credit hours, in special education.

“That makes her very marketable,” Shelton said. “Amanda is one of our top students, and she does an amazing job in our program.”

Her remarkable work has earned her the Student of the Year honor in the Physical and Health Education Teaching Program for 2018-19. She also was awarded one of this year’s Hattie M. Strong Foundation scholarships, which is given to students prior to their student teaching semester. The scholarships go to students pursing a teaching career who have maintained at least a 3.0 GPA over two semesters prior to their student teaching and exhibit outstanding success and enthusiasm in previous field experience. Students must also show strong leadership skills.

Amanda embodies the true spirit of what it means to be a Highlander. She is responsive, resilient and real.

“She is a leader,” Shelton said. “Her work in the classroom and as a coach is always top level. To do all she does is really extraordinary. She is so accomplished at such a young age.

“She never slows down.”

Feb 25, 2019
Chad Osborne