Busy Bauer

Busy Bauer

Kate Roudebush

In the classroom and on the court, demonstrating a lab investigation to young biologists and preparing a college team for upcoming games, Jeffrey Bauer persists as a living testament to just how busy life can be.
Bauer not only teaches West Ottawa’s freshmen biology course at Macatawa Bay Middle School and West Ottawa High School, but also serves as head coach for the basketball team at Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC).

Basketball holds great significance in Bauer’s life. After playing in high school and gaining 27 years of personal coaching experience, Bauer has led teams at both the high school and college level, including one year at the professional level with the former Grand Rapids Hoops, now called the Grand Rapids Drive.
“With all my years of coaching and recruiting, I’ve seen a lot of different student-athletes growing up in different environments and situations,” Bauer said, recognizing one beneficial aspect of coaching.
Between instructing lessons in biology and running drills in basketball, Bauer’s bustling schedule never seems to stop.

A 5:30 a.m. wake-up call from two of his three young children begins his day. After the typical seven-hour school day, Bauer travels to coach at GRCC, a community college nearly an hour away. While at GRCC, Bauer leads his team in a two-hour practice. He tries to make it home in time to see his kids and wife before they head off to bed and he gets back to work for a few more hours, just to repeat the same routine tomorrow.
“I can’t really waste a minute,” he said. “Every minute of the day I’m trying to stay two weeks ahead of teaching, a day ahead of coaching, and trying to squeeze in every spare minute that I can to see my family.”
Like many in today’s world, Bauer’s day-to-day life stays rather hectic. When bouncing back and forth between teaching and coaching, Bauer’s organization and strong work ethic makes balancing his daily life possible. He finds a way to live a life that undoubtedly affects others.
Bauer’s wife Jessica has witnessed his passion for coaching. “He coaches hard but he loves them hard as well. He’s intense and wants them to learn life lessons through basketball,” Jessica said.
Although she has never directly seen Bauer teach, Jessica has seen the way Bauer takes the time to prepare everything, from lessons to lab investigations, for his students and knows that the same passion exists for his teaching.

Still, throughout all of life’s commotion, Bauer’s number one goal remains the same: to build relationships with his students and student-athletes. “The opportunity to connect with them and have an impact on them is my main goal, the only difference is whether that’s in the classroom or on the floor,” Bauer said.
Aside from his dad jokes, Chandler Collins, one of Bauer’s athletes says, “My favorite thing about Coach Bauer as a coach is that he makes sure we are doing things the right way, whether that be on the court or in the classroom. As a team, we can all be serious, but after the game, we can laugh and joke around together.”
Bauer recognizes the impact his coaching has had on his teaching style and interactions with his students. “It’s obviously way different, obviously it’s day and night,” he said. “I think the real-life that I have seen, that really dictates a ton of my teaching. I try to tie real life into my teaching.”
Many of Bauer’s former students have shared fond memories of his class, his sense of humor, and the care Bauer has for his students.

Regardless of Bauer’s position, whether that be coaching or teaching, Bauer leaves a positive impression on the students and athletes that he instructs.
He does what many dreams to do: live a life they love and leave a lasting impact on those they care about. He transforms the simple things in life – ninth-grade biology and the game of basketball – into opportunities for his students to learn and grow.

Life can undeniably be chaotic. Nonetheless, Bauer has found a way to balance his busyness.
Bauer, whilst balancing a family, a classroom, and a team, still manages to teach his students and coach his athletes about a world bigger than the classroom and the court.