I spent today with 20 wonderful students competing at Gymnastics Victoria’s Inter-School Gymnastics competition and will do the same tomorrow and Friday this week. What an amazing opportunity to get to know a group of students in a sporting arena! Since beginning my life as a teacher, I have thrown myself whole-heartedly into the co-curricular programs of the schools in which I have worked. House events, Music, Performing Arts, Public Speaking, Debating, Drama and Gymnastics – I have been involved with them all. And what I love most is seeing kids that I know in the classroom excel outside of it. Or even better, getting to know fantastic young women whom I would have otherwise had nothing to do with in the classroom context.
In spite of all of the great aspects of being heavily involved in the life of a school, I am beginning to question whether this is really such a sustainable way to live. Teaching was never meant to be a 9-5 job, that’s for sure. But even the great Dolly Parton told us that “It’s enough to drive you crazy it you let it.” Not that I am going crazy, by any means. But it did get me talking to my colleague, fellow coach and good mate, Nerida, about whether or not what we do defines us. Am I what I do? Or does what I do define who I am?
Without becoming too philosophical on a Wednesday evening, if I am defined by what I currently do, then I am quickly becoming a French-speaking, assessment correcting, gymnastics-coaching tap dancer. But clearly there’s a whole lot more to me than that. So for today, I think I’ve convinced Nez that what we do is because of who we are. I teach because I care. And I do so many things outside of the classroom because I value the relationships I am building with my students and my fellow colleagues. Not bad for a days work!