A big day outside of the classroom

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!


5 thoughts on “A big day outside of the classroom

  1. Having a passion for teaching does not define you. It is your strengths, interests and passions which help to define what you are doing, who you are and this helps to educate and encourage students grow. We encourage students throughout high school and young adulthood to become involved in many different extra-curricular activities and to keep their options open.This is further reinforced by having teachers who care, go that extra mile and who help them to open their eyes up to the world and the opportunities available. Therefore a career does not define you, it is the person behind the career who defines themselves and their job in society.

  2. Catherine,
    Great to see another teacher blogging in a reflective way. I love it. In response to your post, I love Ally’s reply – can’t really say it better – except to quote an aunty who wrote in my autograph book
    “Whatever you are, be that
    Whatever you say, be true
    Straightforwardly Act,
    Be honest, in fact,
    Be nobody else but you”

    Especially in caring roles like teaching, we have to take our personalities in with us.

    On the practical side, though it is possible to be too involved at times and not get balance right, but that usually sorts itself out when you learn the word “no” and use it wisely.

    Glad to see you are on board for TeachMeet Melbourne.

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