Out-of-body (classroom) experiences

One of the aspects of teaching that you cannot prepare for are the relationships you will build with students, especially outside of the regular classroom time.
I would highly encourage any and all teachers to volunteer for some opportunity to interact with students outside of your scheduled classroom time. You will have the opportunity to teach the students in more non-traditional ways and you will learn about them as children and in turn they will learn about you. You will build a rapport and a trust with the students that will translate into the classroom.
Whether you decide to take on coaching a sports team, running an after school club, working the extended day program, or even being present at sports games and Family Board Game Nights, any involvement will help to build that relationship with the kids.
I run the Student Council as well as volunteer with an after-school cooking class and these experiences have allowed me to get to know my students as more than just the kids in my classroom. I connected with them and it made our classroom time even better. It also allows me to connect with students that are not in my classes and already start to build those relationships with them.
I also traveled to Wyoming with five of my students on a week-long camping/science enrichment program with students and teachers from three other Chicago schools. This was my second year participating in this program and it really allows an opportunity to see how these students interact outside of the classroom. And it certainly helps to build a good relationship with them when I am waking them up at 6:30 in the morning with the rise of the sun!


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