Surfing

surfing
(Image from http://www.surfline.com)

It is a good experience to be learning to surf with year 12 students and cheering them as they drop into waves that are way too big for them to take off on and laugh with them as they emerge from the whitewash a few seconds later.  They return the favour many times throughout the session and we always seem to have a good laugh at each others misfortune.  One of my favourite things about surfing is that the wipeouts are just as important to the experience as the great rides you have. There are not many things we do where ‘mistakes’ are not frowned upon and avoided at all costs and I like that the ‘mistakes’ you make when you are surfing are all part of the fun.

While I am often hassled a little for organising a ‘surfing’ excursion I feel it really is a beneficial day and I think the students get a lot more out of it than they realise also. You really cannot replace the look on the face of someone who has just stood up and ridden a wave for the first time and the adrenalin and excitement almost always leads itself to them paddling furiously out the back with renewed enthusiasm to get another wave. I think it is a great experience for students to have and I am sure there are self esteem benefits in having overcome a difficult and exhilarating skill. The more positive and engaging experiences we can give our students the better and I am sure the day will be remembered long after a lot of the other school day memories fade.

I think one of the most beneficial things that comes out of the day is the interaction between staff and students. The importance of developing quality ‘relationships’ has been talked about widely as a crucial factor in teacher success and one that I see as more and more important the longer I teach.  Establishing a genuine connection with students built around respect for one another is one of the key challenges I think we as teachers have in motivating our students to achieve their potential. Surfing excursions and other extra curricula days have the potential to provide us with the opportunity to ‘connect’ with some of those students who we may find it difficult to connect with in the classroom setting. While there is always a tight line in ensuring extra curricula does not impact too  greatly on instructional time, I think it is important that we do not underestimate the value of these extra curricula activities. 

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