Student Connections Outside of the Classroom

I ran into a friend at the neighborhood farmer's market this morning. She asked how my year was going.

I paused. "Overall, good," I said, "'s a little overwhelming at times."

She nodded. "I saw your Facebook post a few weeks ago about how tired you are."

A few weeks ago was the last time I updated there. I'm so busy I don't have time for Facebook anymore (which, really, isn't all that bad). I'm still reading blogs, because I love them and they rejuvenate me, but this year is just tough. New curriculum, new teaching format, new way of working with special education, new kids (though not all - it's fabulous to have a bunch of kids I already know), new school-wide schedule....ack. It's hard.

Last Wednesday, I was tired. TIIIIIIIIIRED. I wanted nothing more at the end of the day than to go home and not even think about school till the next morning. But two students had asked me to go to the football game, and so I dragged myself up to the school we were playing and cheered for our guys.

Y'all, it was so worth it.

The kids were SO excited to see me. The ones who had asked me to come were so proud that I'd shown up and the others were so delighted to have a teacher there cheering them on. They bragged about their plays, dissected the other team's weaknesses, gave credit to teammates who'd done something was awesome. Plus I got to meet three sets of parents I'd never met or spoken to before, including the family of a boy I had two years ago as well as this year. It was nice to see how much they love their kids and how proud they are when the kids do well, especially if it's a kid who doesn't always do that well in my content. The next day, I had kids I barely know coming up to me and commenting on me being there.

This is not sports-exclusive. Same thing happened last year at the band concerts I attended.

I know a lot of people attend events anyway, and I know all of us are freakin' exhausted at the end of the day, but I just wanted to encourage everyone to go to a game here, a concert there. It's totally, totally worth it for the connections to the kids and the families.

(Photo credit to Jimmy MacDonald)


Mr. B said...

I think you're right on the money with this, and you're certainly not the first person that I've heard this working for (in terms of connecting with students). I'm trying to make it work for me, but I have a sizable distance between where I live and the district I teach in, which makes it difficult to make many sporting events unless I have a lot of notice and nothing else going on that night. I do, however, get free entrance to all district sports activities (a nice fringe benefit), so it's on my agenda. I particularly want to make it to a football game, since I have at least one problem student who plays and who might see that as a step in the right direction. I sure hope so.

(P.S. Great blog you've got here! Sometimes you do have to dream big to teach well.)

teachin' said...

Hi Mr. B - thanks for your comment! I do think it really helps, but I totally get how difficult it is. I'm working on planning ahead more to get those events scheduled so that they're easier to get to. It's a process.

Kakie said...

I love seeing teachers participate. I think teachers don't get enough credit for all the work you do. As a mother who is passionate about education, thanks for all you do!

teachin' said...

Kakie - thanks for being an involved parent!

"I'm a dreamer but I ain't the only one Got problems but we love to have fun" -K'naan, "Dreamer"

I teach eighth grade Language Arts at an urban school. My kids kick ass and will change the world. I want everyone to know.
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