Spring proves to be a busy time in the world of teaching.  With the joys of Spring Break and great weather come the stresses of finishing the curriculum, preparing for finals, and wrapping up the school year.  There is an electric quality in the air that everyone can feel.  Similar to the week leading up to a major vacation, all are anxious, eager and excited to move on to summer for some much deserved rest and relaxation.

Yet still, it is always important to find balance in one’s life, and that balance includes a healthy mix of spending time with family and friends, engaging in hobbies (such as blogging!), and working hard and having fun at work.  For me, the “fun” is not only being with my students in class each day, but through my involvement with extracurricular activities.  Despite the whirlwind of the end of the school year, I continue to participate in extracurricular activities because that’s a major part of why I love my job: working with and being with teenagers.  This spring proves to be as busy as ever.  Advising our Freshmen class during our annual spirit competition at school took lots of patience and energy.  After countless hours of preparation and practice, my math research scholars competed in their last round of competition, winning a variety of medals to close out the season.  Our girls’ varsity softball team, of which I am one of two coaches, continues to play extremely well, and we are currently in second place in our division.  With all this glory comes time, patience, energy and attention, and of course, these things are not taken out of my regular school day, but my extra free time.  In fact, that’s probably how the term “extracurricular activities” earned the prefix “extra.”

But to me, these activities aren’t “extra” at all.  In fact, they are a natural way to continue to do what I love.  This might not sound like much balance to someone, since it sounds like “all work,” but much of this work is extremely rewarding.  Getting to know your students out of the classroom can be an eye-opening experience.  You learn things about others, and learn a lot about yourself: how to manage, how to work with a team, and how to advise students outside of your content area.  When you see your students succeed in the classroom by performing well on a particular task or assessment, you feel gratified and accomplished.  The same can be said about working with students in other areas.  Coaching kids through each inning and offering advice on giving presentations does help kids be successful.  It’s a way that I try to make an impact on individual student lives, other than through the typical day-to-day interactions in the classroom and during extra help time.

So, the moral of the story is that life gets busy and challenging, and at the end of the year, we teachers can lose sight on what matters most: helping kids.  Try not to let the end of year stresses get you down, because you only have a few weeks left to still make a difference in this school year.  Your time is limited, but making the most of it will prove to be most rewarding, and of course, fun!

Am I eager and excited to move on to summer for that much deserved rest and relaxation?  Of course!  But, that rest and relaxation doesn’t come without my need to continue to do what I love, because I get to continue on to an amazing “non”-extracurricular: to work with teenagers, to advise, to coach, and to teach…while at sleep-a-way camp!

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