Doing more as a teacher can be a little daunting. Nevertheless, going the extra mile can have positive effects in the classroom. By this term I mean undertaking activities and prospects outside one’s normal teaching load. Taking the chance to accompany students on trips, particularly those that are residential, elicits an exciting opportunity to see pupils outside the confines of an academic environment. Challenging students can excel and this can be incredibly rewarding to witness.
Furthermore, these examples can be used to reinforce a relationship upon return to school. For example, giving a student similar openings during lessons that they may have had whilst on a trip; being group leaders, organisers or indeed delegating a level of responsibility can be done so in confidence by the teacher. If a student needs encouragement then one is able to remind them of the progress they have made whilst away from school, thus bolstering the belief in the student’s mind that they can succeed in the classroom. Students appreciate the time and effort put aside by staff and in my experience getting stuck into activities with the them has led to some of my most memorable times whist in teaching. Shared experience, difficulty and success is invaluable to a practitioner.
Going the extra mile also allows a teacher to share their own interests with students and give them an opportunity to learn new skills and discover new hobbies. Vice versa taking on responsibilities within one’s job can give similarly benefit the teacher be it subject specific, i.e. field work or more co-curricular focussed i.e the Duke of Edinburgh’s award or running sports teams. The benefits in terms of professional advancement could be almost limitless.
Finally, being willing to go the extra mile allows a practitioner to develop more than academic skills and abilities of their students. Sport and afore mentioned Duke of Edinburgh’s Award allows a teacher to promote team work, fair play and self-reliance. Drama, music and debating can build self-confidence and belief. As teachers I strongly believe that our role as educators should focus on the ‘whole’ student and to prepare them appropriately for their lives after their schooling has been completed. So when asked whether or not you want to judge a competition, give up some holiday for a trip or to coach a team, think about the satisfaction and the chances and opportunities it will offer to you and the relationships you can build with your students.