Why You Should Consider Sponsoring an Extracurricular Activity

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Extracurricular activities teacher students drama class

Your lesson was a disaster, your data isn’t measuring up, and today’s intruder drill has frayed your last nerve. All you can think about is that final bell, the only remaining obstacle between you and your nightly self-care regimen. (We all have one. Mine involves reruns of The West Wing and something in a chilled glass, but you do you.) Why ON EARTH would you sign up to do one more thing after school – something you are not required to do and may not even get paid for?

Friends, that extracurricular responsibility you have been avoiding might just be where you rediscover your joy. The evidence is clear that after-school activities benefit children, improving their academic performance, building their confidence, and developing personal and social skills…. But what can extracurricular activities do for YOU?

You will find that the things you already love are even more wonderful when shared. 

Clubs don’t have to feel like a chore, especially if they are centered around a personal passion. Choose something important to you, and you will find so much joy sharing it with young people. Be creative. You might not need to commit to coaching an athletic team and dedicating time every single day to practices and games. Maybe, depending upon the pressures of your schedule, your club will only meet once a week, or even once a month. You will find that even meeting once monthly with young people who share your passion will boost your spirits.

Extracurricular activities will help you improve relationships with your students. 

Outside of the traditional classroom, without the pressures of grades and academic routines, you will find it much easier to get to know your students. And guess what! You’re going to LOVE them! These are kids, after all, who already share at least one of your passions. When you all come together to celebrate this common hobby or interest, they will amaze you with their enthusiasm and dedication, and they’ll get to see a whole new side of you, as well. The improved rapport that you develop with your club members may actually improve your relationships with other students in the classroom, as they see you developing those precious bonds with their peers.

You can help contribute to a positive school culture. 

Your extracurricular activity may help change the DNA of your school. It will undoubtedly help shape how your club members ultimately remember their alma mater. As a side effect of contributing to a positive school culture, you will earn the respect of your colleagues and administrators for going the extra mile.

Thinking about sponsoring a club? Here are a few quick tips for getting started:

1. Don’t overcommit.

If you’re a first-year teacher, for example, and you already feel like you’re breathing through a straw, you may want to wait. If you’re overstressed but still want to contribute, think about teaming up with a sponsor of an established club.

2. Set expectations.

As students start to understand how your club works, they may even begin to help plan and facilitate meetings.

3. Solicit support from parents and the school community to meet any special needs.

Clubs can be a great opportunity for parents and other community members to get involved. Don’t deprive them of that opportunity by shouldering too much of the burden, yourself.

Teacher writing on white board

Teaching our young people is an honor and a privilege. It can also be positively soul sucking at times. It’s often too easy to forget the long game.

It doesn’t matter what you do… so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hands away. The difference between the man who just cuts lawns and a real gardener is in the touching…. The lawn-cutter might just as well not have been there at all; the gardener will be there a lifetime.”

– Author Ray Bradbury writes in Fahrenheit 451,

For me, tending that “garden” is the long game of education. The sweet kids from my book club and drama club have made that garden immeasurably more fruitful.

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SallyWhite

Senior Member

I'm a public high school teacher specializing in English and Theatre Arts. On any given day, I summon the energy five times in a row to fire kids up about Shakespeare or semi-colons or the virtues of getting to class on time; then I move all of the desks out of the way and rehearse the school play in a building with no actual theatre. I love my kids, and I love teachers, and celebrating them is one of my favorite things in life. At night, I write.

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