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Schulte, Xavier football coach, juggles classroom and field during pandemic

Published: Oct. 19, 2020 at 11:25 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 19, 2020 at 11:26 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - If you think you had a long day at work, imagine what it’s like to teach and coach during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

That’s exactly what Duane Schulte, Xavier High School football coach and social studies teacher, manages every day.

“I usually get up around 6:25 or 6:30, and then, depending on the football schedule that particular day, get home at 7, 7:30 [p.m.],” Schulte said. “And then when you get home, you spend your time trying to watch some more film, think about more game planning stuff.”

The 58-year-old Schulte, who teaches classes about economics and law, puts in some long days. After doing this for 27 years, Schulte said he gets his energy from his students.

“When you get around these high school kids, they keep you young,” Schulte said. “The fact that you like doing what you’re doing, both in the classroom and on the football field, it gives you the impetus to keep going.”

Things for Schulte are more difficult now, thanks to COVID-19. You also have to play janitor and disinfect the classroom between every class.

“Clean the desk, and be aware of both the kids in the classroom and the kids that are home online,” Schulte said. “There’s just a little bit more time that that takes instead of just teaching.”

Schulte is teaching half his class online at the same time he is instructing in the classroom.

“The way I’m approaching it is to kind of teach to the kids in the room and then the kids online can certainly jump in and contribute and ask questions whenever they have any.”

Schulte’s strategy appears to be working for his students.

“I think it’s definitely a challenge for him but he’s doing a good job with it,” Samantha Robinson, a Xavier senior and one of Schulte’s students, said. “Having a zoom class is definitely hard on both ends. But, he makes sure that we can always see the board and see him, and he’s doing a good job.”

In addition to his teaching duties, Schulte has led the Saints to another undefeated season. He’s looking for his 4th state title, which once again comes back to teaching.

“I consider coaching to be teaching, because by the time you get out on the field, If you want a kid to execute, a player to execute, it really boils down to teaching,” Schulte said.

Schulte left teaching early on to get his law degree and actually practiced law. But, he realized he missed his real love.

“I just missed being around kids and just missed the aspect of education and teaching,” Schulte said.

I have asked a lot of Xavier students over the years what kind of teacher is, and I always get the same response.

“He is awesome,” Robinson said. “He makes econ, which sometimes wouldn’t be the most enjoyable subject, a lot of fun to learn.”

Hearing that kind of praise is extremely rewarding for Schulte.

“I think I teach some subjects that are fairly interesting,” Schulte said. “And if I can get that across to the kids, for them to say that it’s been a good experience in my room, that makes me feel just as good as winning football games on the football field.”

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