Shine a Light On: Extracurricular Activities

March 3, 2014

Shine a Light On: Extracurricular Activities

Please be advised that this Shine a Light is accurate as of March 3, 2014.

Teachers recognize the value of extracurricular activities in the school environment.

But remember, it is the teacher who voluntarily chooses whether to undertake any extracurricular activity or not.

Learn how to address issues pertaining to extracurricular activities in your school.

Remember, we’re workers with lives of our own

All teachers recognize that extracurricular activities allow us to reach children in different ways, develop relationships that help in the classroom, assist in the positive development of students, and build community in a school.

It is important to acknowledge that we have a defined job and that the demands of the job are increasing. Remember: we’re workers with lives of our own.

In certain situations, electing to undertake voluntary activities can result in a diminished focus on core classroom responsibilities, or negatively impact a teacher’s personal life. This can be a source of considerable stress.

Below are some of the negative practices in schools that need to be addressed:

  • Teachers told that they must take on an extracurricular activity.
  • Teachers (new teachers in particular) bullied and pressured into taking on committee work and other extracurricular activities.
  • Principals using the school’s first staff meeting to issue an ultimatum, telling teachers that “nobody is going to leave this room until all activities are signed up for.”
  • Teachers told (either overtly or more subtly) that their TPA evaluation will be affected if they don’t participate in extracurricular activities.
  • Teachers being “guilt-tripped” (ie. “If you don’t do extracurriculars, you don’t care about the students”).

Contact your Executive Officer if these are happening to you!

Some Guidelines for Teachers Faced with the September Sign-up List:

  • Voluntary extracurricular activities are exactly that—voluntary. Teachers should make decisions about participation based upon their individual professional and personal situations.
  • Teachers should be careful when assuming voluntary extracurricular activities, because doing so can set a precedent. What is an extra activity planned for only one year can become an expectation for the next year. Be clear about how long you intend to carry on an activity.
  • Teachers should not be critical of other colleagues who choose to focus on their classroom and personal obligations, and decide not to participate in voluntary extracurricular activities.
  • Teachers who decide to participate in voluntary extracurricular activities should not receive special consideration for doing so at the expense of an increased workload for other teachers.
  • Teachers who elect not to participate in extracurricular activities should not be penalized for making that decision.

Extracurricular activities are extra! Extracurricular activities are voluntary!

Assert your choice! Make your voice heard!

“I am choosing not to do extra-curricular activities this year.”

“I am focusing on my teaching this year.”

“My workload is becoming so great I do not have the time.”

“I am returning from a leave and need to re-establish my teaching practices.”

“I have a new/combined class this year and have to familiarize myself with the curriculum.”

“I am a new teacher and need to focus on learning my craft.”

“No thanks, I don’t want to.”


Shine a Light - Extracurriculars (PDF)