At the end of, or near the end of each academic quarter, the National Honor Society hosts a game night for students to relax and play games, toss a frisbee and hang out with peers in a non-academic setting. The Spanish instructor was the primary supervisor for the event and explained that the game night was a regular event that many students enjoy. About 20 students stayed after school (which ended at 2:00pm) until about 5:00pm to play video games and relieve some stress before returning to work, school or the stressors of home.
I really enjoyed seeing these students interact with one another outside of the classroom. Leadership traits were much more clear and they didn’t have their guard up constantly like they do when they enter a class. Two students stand out in particular that were much different at this event than they are in the class where I teach. One student is a high achieving student and tends to focus deeply into his work was smiling and jumping around. We played a small get to know you game and another game of hot lava. The quiet student demonstrated many leadership qualities which he doesn’t have an opportunity to share in class.
The other student is also quiet but tends to struggle focusing on tasks in class. At the beginning of the year, this student really struggled to complete homework, but has since been improving. At this event, he was interesting to watch as we completed a hot lava activity where students can only stand on chairs and must transport their entire team from one side of the room to another only using the chairs as support. Since standing on chairs is generally unacceptable during the school day, this student felt more comfortable and was determined to help his team accomplish the task. He encouraged others, something he wouldn’t normally do in class, and focused to help his team win.
Overall, watching and participating in this after school event really taught me about the multiple facets of student’s lives. They share different parts of their personality through different activities. I feel as though I know these several students a lot better having spent time in a casual environment with them. Additionally, I think we have a stronger relationship. Yes, I’m still their teacher, but they know that I can also have fun, dance and play games. Possibly, the students who attended this event and are in my classes will trust me more when they have questions, concerns or problems they need advice solving. By participating in extra curricular activities with students, I have opened more doors to knowing students better.