Up to now I always felt a little saddened when I see people drop out of the IMO or EGMO team selection. But actually, really I should be asking myself what I (as a coach) could do better to make sure the students know we value their effort, even if they ultimately don’t make the team.
Because we sure do an awful job of being supportive of the students, or, well, really doing anything at all. There’s no practice material, no encouragement, or actually no form of contact whatsoever. Just three unreasonably hard problems each month, followed by a score report about a week later, starting in December and dragging in to April.
One of a teacher’s important jobs is to encourage their students. And even though we get the best students in the USA, probably we shouldn’t skip that step entirely, especially given the level of competition we put the students through.
So, what should we do about it? Suggestions welcome.