Teacher Feature: Jim Guest
“In life, we are constantly challenged. I try to break down those challenges into small parts. As the student starts to have success, they become motivated to continue to accomplish more.”
Since he was 10 years old, Fremd High School teacher Jim Guest said he knew he wanted to work in athletics, and when he was in high school he knew he wanted to teach at the high school level. That’s exactly what he did. In fact, when he was offered a position to teach at the collegiate level, he respectfully declined and stayed true to himself by continuing to teach high school students.
After 11 years of teaching at Fremd, the former head gymnastics coach and driver’s education department chair said he still loves what he is doing. His dedication to helping students find the motivation to succeed is something he prides himself on.
He retired from coaching after seven years, and despite it being what he calls a tough but right decision, he continues to find education exciting to be involved in. Guest emphasizes that teachers are there to help the kids, and to help them when they encounter a tough time.
“In life, we are constantly challenged,” Guest said. “I try to break down those challenges into small parts. As the student starts to have success, they become motivated to continue to accomplish more.”
Guest suffered a series of coaching injuries that led to his decision to retire. After retiring, he is finding other ways to keep involved with students outside of the classroom. He is the faculty adviser to the chess team and is implementing new programs within the driver’s education department. The Alive at 25 program focuses on defensive driving tactics and choices as they relate to the topics of driving distractions, driver fatigue, and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
During his time as head coach from 2005 to 2011, the Vikings saw great success. His teams won state championships in 2005, 2007, and 2008, placed second in 2006, and third in 2010. His overall meet record at the time he retired was an incredible 62-3. Guest also was inducted into the Illinois High School Gymnastics Coaches Association Hall of Fame. Although he recognizes the team’s success, he said it’s the hard work that happens in the gym and classroom that makes it worthwhile.
“In terms of the final score at the end of a gymnastics meet, I have had success beyond my wildest imagination. Coaching gymnastics has been a great period in my life,” Guest said. “I have been asked which was my best team, best athlete, etc. My response has always been to ask me in 20 years when I can see what positive contributions my athletes have made in their lives and to our society.”
As he continues teaching, Guest said the end of coaching still has a bittersweet feeling because it’s a feeling and satisfaction unique to athletics.
“Coaching athletics and specifically gymnastics has been a big part of my life,” Guest said. “The last 20 years have been a great period of time for me. Just the whole environment, the atmosphere – you can’t manufacture it in any other field other than athletics.”