An esteemed colleague of mine recently wrote these words when addressing the school community that she leads, “ joy is the way through. ” These words literally stopped me in my tracks.
I kept mulling over that phrase, joy is the way through, as I drove to work that morning. Those words brought me back to 2008, when I was volunteering as a reading tutor at a community center in Lewiston, Maine which served primarily Somali youth who were learning English. Volunteering at that community center brought me joy unimaginable. It was then that I knew that educating young people would be my calling in this lifetime.
Recently, somewhere in the midst of the gray winter days, indoor recesses, and other trappings of being in a school community in winter–I was struggling to find that same spark of joy that I felt then. So, I began searching for all the small pockets of joy in the school day and once I really looked –I saw and experienced joy in abundance. I felt joy when chatting with like-minded colleagues over soup at lunch, when playing math games with the students on Math Fun Friday, and when helping a student solve a tricky word problem.
Those words, “joy is the way through,” will be my mantra for these winter months, and perhaps beyond. Sometimes, on our hardest, longest days it’s easy to lose sight of the reason that we’re all here: working with students and helping them succeed brings us joy.
So, parents, teachers, coaches, and leaders, I invite you to find the small pockets of joy in each day with your children and students. I invite the students to find the small pockets of joy in their school day, especially when things feel challenging and hard.
Once you really look, you might just find joy all around.
I’m wishing you a month full of joyful learning and play.
Lindsay Samson Harrington