Coaching to teach: Preservice social studies teachers’ experiences with a hiring contingency

Caroline J. Conner, Kennesaw State University
Chara Haeussler Bohan, Georgia State University


Social studies teachers are frequently athletic coaches who are often criticized for prioritizing coaching over teaching. The purpose of this study is to investigate the experiences of preservice social studies teachers regarding the relationship between coaching and teaching with respect to hiring in middle and secondary schools. The researchers employed phenomenological research methods to investigate the hiring experiences of social studies teacher candidates. Survey and interview data were collected from social studies teacher candidates at the three largest universities in a southeastern state. Results illuminate a pervasive coaching contingency that many social studies teacher candidates face. Social studies teacher candidates perceived that willingness to coach a sport is the most important factor, other than teaching, to be hired to teach—particularly at the high school level.