Thursday, March 8, 2012
Teachers and students and students have mixed feelings about the co-curricular activities. One advantage of the program is that it give teachers an opportunity to share a topic they are passionate about with students. Students make connections with others who share their interests and see another side of their teachers.
But, there are some disadvantages too. For teachers, it is the extra planning and prep work it takes to teach an extra class every day. I'm currently teaching a memoir writing class. I put as much time into planning for this group of students as I do for my other classes. Another concern is that many of the students who end up in the class aren't there by choice. Students are asked to make first, second, and third choices on their sign-up sheets. If a large number of students sign up for the same activities, some of them will end up in a class they may not want to be in. This can cause unhappy students, and unhappy students can cause behavior problems for the teacher to deal with.
I'm not sure how this co-curricular period will mesh with the changes the common core curriculum are sure to bring. I like the concept of students having an enrichment period, but how much more can we pack in a day and still be effective teachers?
Does your school have a co-curricular program? If so, how does your school use the time to benefit students without adding to teacher workload?