Mindy Zamudio: Where Does She Find the Time?

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Life isn’t easy being a high school teacher. Their unique role demands that they wear many hats: tutor, writer, authority figure, counselor, comedian, and mentor. Now add high school coaching to the list. Mindy Zamudio, Spanish teacher and girl’s soccer coach at Copper Hills High School, perseveres through the increasing challenge with a positive mindset.

At the age of eight, Zamudio’s third grade teacher taught her entire class how to play soccer during recess. She fell in love with the sport, continuing to play afterward and throughout high school. She even played for two years at a junior college. However, Zamudio didn’t want to be known solely as a player. Being a coach was always a lifelong dream for the soccer fanatic. “I feel like one of my very first coaches had a huge impact on me,” she said. “Home life was hard, so having an outlet to get energy out… and better myself was something so powerful. But to have a coach… that saw something in me, just changed my entire life.” She even recounted her decision to become a coach at a young age.  “I remember looking at that coach and being like, ‘I want to be you one day. I want to make other kids make me feel like you’ve made me feel.’ And so, ever since that coach, I was like, one day I will be a coach.”

Zamudio fulfilled her dream when she became an assistant coach for the girl’s soccer team, eventually becoming head coach for CH about two years ago. Because of her commitment to the job, Zamudio has had to learn to balance her life in new ways. “It is challenging,” she said. “I feel like my first year was the biggest challenge because I didn’t know how much time went into coaching behind the scenes. So that was a really big shock.” Not only does Zamudio have to go to practices, she also has to plan, reflect, coach at games, watch game tapes, and organize. Even with that laundry list of tasks, she still has many obligations as a teacher. How does Zamudio do it all? Her answer is simple. “I use a planner, and I have To-Do lists. It helps me know what I need to get done each day. I set aside time for teacher work and then coaching work.” 

Being a coach requires a different skill set from that of a teacher. As a teacher, Zamudio mentors her students. She said that she loves to see her students work hard, but frankly, she’s just satisfied to see them in class. As a coach, Zamudio can get down to business with her players. “I feel like as a coach I get to push them more physically and mentally. I get to see what they do when it gets really really hard.”

Despite the rigorous schedule, she couldn’t ask for a better job. “I feel like it’s my perfect job because I get to do two things that I love,” explains Zamudio. “Being around these kids every single day is just the best thing I could ask for.”

Zamudio has gone above and beyond as a teacher and coach. She helps students outside of class, encourages them in their extracurricular endeavors, and pushes them to achieve their potential in the classroom. She cheers with her team and applauds their efforts. Zamudio said, “I’ve realized that everybody has a story, and I’ve learned to be more patient and to treat more people with kindness.”