j0433160When I was a student,  I loved being in the drama club and playing volleyball and basketball on the junior and senior  teams at my high school.  I wasn’t a star by any means, but I was a member of the drama club  and a member of the team which was important at that time.  Those extracurricular activities made my life almost bearable during my teen years. I wanted school to be more than just the 3 rs. I didn’t just want to be in a classroom living in my head during my school years.  I longed to be part of something more than a class.  eEtracurricular activities enabled me to satisfy my longing to part of something more than a class. When I became a teacher, I decided I would participate in extracurricular activities to enable students to benefit from extra curricular activities much  the way I had benefited all those years ago. Imagine my surprise when I realized that as a  teacher I was still  benefiting from participating in extra curricular activities. I recognize students participate in extracurricular activities for many reasons,  not just the reasons I had for participating . Extra curricular activities are important for students in many ways.

I’ll be honest here. Participating in extra curricular activities is important for me as a teacher because participating in extracurricular  activities  would often help make my classrooms more bearable .  Over the years some of my classes have been very challenging- to say the least. Many of my academically at risk students  were disengaged from school.  They were only at school because the law said they had to be at school.  I felt really great when I got to see students who were disengaged from the classroom become more and more engaged in the classroom because they were  began participating in extracurricular activities such as  basketball, football or yes even the knitting club.   I’ll admit  I got to see my academically at risk students in a different more positive light during extracurricular activities and my students got to see me in a different light too that resulted in a more positive  student/teacher relationship.  That is a very good thing.

When I think of school and the student body, I think of classrooms as the head of the student body and extracurricular activities as the heart of the student body.We need to balance the head and the heart of the student body.  Life is not only lived in the head, but it is also lived  in the heart.   Students’ school experience and yes even teachers’ school experience needs to  include developing and satisfying the needs of their heads and hearts,  and  when teachers are told not to participate in extracurricular activities for political reasons, students and teachers suffer.

 

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