Alex Parker goes from international hockey player to teacher and coach

Alex Parker grew up in this area and attended QO. It was at QO that he became inspired to become a teacher, after playing hockey in Serbia, Parker returned to MCPS to pursue a career in teaching and coaching hockey.

Q: You grew up in Montgomery County. What school did you attend and what is it like to be back in your hometown?
I graduated from Quince Orchard and grew up in Darnestown. Through hockey, men’s volleyball and marching band, I had many friends and mutual acquaintances at Wootton. Of course, we always knew of Wootton as an excellent academic school…although at QO, we definitely had more school spirit. When I was at QO, I had incredible teachers, especially in social studies. My experiences taking AP Government, sociology and law inspired me to pursue teaching as a career. It is a cool feeling for life to come full circle, especially when you get to teach in just about the same town.

Q: Where did you attend college?
I got my undergraduate degree from James Madison University and majored in political science with minors in secondary education and history. I stayed a fifth year to get a Masters in secondary education. I played hockey at JMU, and I was also involved in SafeRides, which is a student organization that raises awareness about the dangers of drunk driving and provides free rides home to students on weekends.

Q: Did you always want to become a teacher?
After long-term subbing for Ms. Rice, I moved to Serbia for a season of coaching youth ice hockey and playing professionally. I lived in smaller city, Subotica, and played/coached for HK Spartak. My “day” job was coaching the different ages of youth hockey, and then on top of that, playing for the senior team. Through coaching and playing commitments, we got to travel all over eastern Europe- Hungary, Bosnia, Macedonia, Austria, Slovakia and Greece. I then got to travel to some other different places on my own time. It was such a fun six months. It was like living a dream, getting to travel and play hockey for a living.

Q: What’s your favorite part about working and coaching hockey at Wootton?
I had the chance to continue playing overseas, but the opportunity to teach and coach at Wootton was something nobody should ever pass up. I love teaching and connecting with a diverse group of students. Part of the fun of teaching is getting to collaborate with colleagues in the social studies department. The other teachers are extremely passionate, full of good ideas, and we like to joke around and play pranks on each other.

Q: Is hockey going to states this year?
When I was in high school, Wootton won back-to-back state championships for hockey. On top of their skill, one of the problems of playing against Wootton was dealing with their spirited student-section (especially as a goalie). Like I said earlier, it is always fun to look back and see how life comes full circle. As a coach on game days, it is cool to feel the positive energy that buzzes around the school.

Our players love to play in front of hundreds of their peers, but as a coach, I pick up on and appreciate that support, to too. We have a group of motivated players who have quickly formed a strong chemistry with each other. I enjoy getting to the rink and seeing our team bond not only as teammates, but as friends.

In order for us to get to states, we need to continue to play cohesively and with structure. If we get better with our structure and discipline, we will certainly make a strong playoff run in February.

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