For most teachers, enjoyment is found in helping students learn and succeed. They pour their heart and soul into creating rigorous lessons and meaningful activities that promote positive student outcomes. Although many opportunities to fulfill this desire originate within the classroom, educators can also experience satisfaction in contributing to their school outside of the classroom.
One of the most common ways teachers can contribute to their school is through coaching opportunities. Although cheerleading, basketball, and football come to mind first, many schools need multiple coaches beyond these sports. Coaches are also needed for golf, swim, volleyball, wrestling, baseball, cross country, and track teams. Those that enjoy tennis, lacrosse, and archery may also find coaching opportunities for these sports at some schools. Coaching a sport that you enjoy allows you to share the passion and support students as they develop a life-long hobby.
Sponsor a Club or Organization
While many educators think that clubs and organizations are mainly for secondary schools, countless elementary schools are finding the value in helping students find a sense of belonging outside the classroom. Like coaching, sponsoring an organization is a great way to connect with students and contribute to your school. Many schools participate in national organizations such as 4-H, FFA, Beta Club, DECA, and Ed Rising that help students discover possible career paths and allow teachers to share their knowledge of these areas with students. Sponsoring a club can allow you to pass along the enjoyment of hobby such as coding, robotics, singing, or sewing. Students also will enjoy enhancing their creativity in clubs such as Lego creations, creative writing, and drama.
Build Comradery with Peers
Contributing to your school may involve peer connections rather than focusing on students. When teachers have a sense of belonging in a family culture, they are more likely to find satisfaction in their job and stay long-term. Teachers can create this collaboration through multiple outlets. Small groups of teachers may enjoy meeting as a book club to read and discuss the latest thriller or novel. Teachers who enjoy crafts might meet after school to decorate benches for the campus or create fun encouraging signs for the hallways. Others may enjoy team sports and competing against other schools in a fun rivalry. Regardless of what teachers do together, the fellowship can build relationships that support one another in and out of the classroom.
Some teachers have a gift for writing grants in a way that will successfully bring in much needed resources to their school. Even for those not gifted in this area, there are a lot of online opportunities to teach grant writing. Teachers who write grants can often receive STEM projects, flexible seating, art supplies, sports equipment, and other desired materials to meet the needs of the school that regular funding is not able to support.
After School Tutoring
For some students, there are not enough hours in the school day to get the necessary support to close learning gaps. Teachers can help fill this gap and contribute to the overall success of the school by providing after school tutoring. Some teachers may want to focus on a specific subject such as Algebra, writing, or basic math concepts, while others may feel comfortable tutoring for a broad grade band in multiple subject areas. Tutoring not only supports students academically but allows the teacher and student to build a relationship and focus on individual needs that might not be addressed in a full classroom.
Become a Mentor
We all need a little extra help from time to time, and teaching is no exception to this idea. Teachers who want to make positive contributions to their school can chose to mentor another teacher in their building or within their district. They can offer support and answer questions. Teachers can also become mentors to students. They can help a student navigate the process for applying to college and filling out financial aid documents. They can mentor a student struggling to build friendships or in need of a positive role model. Teachers can even mentor college students who desire to enter the field of education. By passing along one’s experience and knowledge, veteran teachers can guide new teachers through the challenges of teaching in order to foster a stronger, successful educator.
No matter what you decide to do to contribute additional support, resources, or learning opportunities, you will find that giving above and beyond the classroom duties is a very rewarding experience. It will help you build relationships with students, staff, and the community and improve the outcomes of all involved.