What Ted Lasso Teaches Us About Community
Gina Vickery, Integrated Math 1, Environmental Science and Student Activities

Breaks during the school year give us the opportunity to rest, relax and recharge before we dive back into the chaos and fun of the school year. Some of us choose to spend that time reading. Others may spend that time traveling. I chose to spend the most recent hiatus – Thanksgiving break – binge-watching the second season of the popular show Ted Lasso. 

If you haven’t watched it yet, I don’t know what you are waiting for. The show, available on Apple TV, is pure joy. That doesn’t mean that the characters aren’t without flaws, but when one of the main messages is to "believe" in the work that you are doing, it’s hard not to root for a show like this. After watching season two in its entirety and reflecting on the characters, I was reminded of a few lessons and things that I need to continue to strive for throughout the rest of the school year.

1. Be humble. It’s a simple thing to do. Coach Lasso is the head coach of a fictional English soccer team, AFC Richmond. As with a head coach in any sport, he is the one who calls the shots. But he also always listens to other people and their ideas, giving credit where credit is due. He never sees himself as being more important than the assistant coaches or players. 

There is no reason why I can’t do the same thing – listening to my colleagues and their ideas, learning from my students and what they have to say and finding value in their contributions. Humility never hurts anyone. I feel like that’s something that Coach Lasso might even say.

2. “I appreciate you.” It’s one of Ted Lasso’s most repeated lines. It doesn’t matter how large or small a character’s action is or whether it is some advice that is given to him, Ted lets people know that they are appreciated. How hard is it to tell someone you appreciate them? This is a simple act that can carry a lot of weight.

3. “Be curious, not judgmental.” This is a memorable line from a classic scene in the first season. What I love about this quote is that it can apply to anyone. It certainly applies to everyone in education – students, teachers and staff. It is far better to be curious and to ask questions about something. Being curious might be harder and may require more time and effort than being judge-y, but it’s worth it to gain a better understanding of something or someone.

4. Second chances. This isn’t so much a quote from the show, but more of a theme that we see with certain characters. We all learn lessons throughout life at different times and at different paces. Second-chance learning gives students the opportunity to reassess a concept, so that they understand that is not the grade that they earn, but that what they learn is most important. Isn’t that one of the main goals of any teacher? The same goes for teachers too. We plan a lesson that we think will be spectacular, but it fails. We make decisions that we think are in the best interest of a student, but at the time failed to see another option. But we get second opportunities to right the wrong. 

5. “Be a goldfish.” This is another iconic line from the series. Ted uses it to explain to his players why goldfish are the happiest animals on the planet. They have a very short memory which doesn’t allow them to dwell too long on mistakes or decisions they’ve made. So, what do they do? They move on and keep on keepin’ on. We could all be a little bit more like goldfish. We all make mistakes, but why beat yourself up over them again and again? 

Recognize your mistake, learn from it, and move on. And if we’re really doing things the right way, we’ll even get a second chance (see #4).

There is a lot we can learn from Ted Lasso, and now that we are in this holiday season, we are reminded most of Ted’s most important lesson: “Believe.”