Happy Happy Joy Joy
I spent the other night with a group of young educators, most of whom are looking to have their own classrooms in the not so distant future. And can I be honest with you about that experience?
It was pretty effing refreshing.
You guys, it was like finding the fountain of youth. I got to hang out with a group of people who are not quite jaded by “The System.” They haven’t been bogged down by check lists and data and spreadsheets and meetings and broken photo copiers and incompetent colleagues who let you carry the weight while they loudly chew their gum despite the fact that gum is not allowed at school. They are inspired. They are engaged. They are eager to learn and grow alongside their students. They are awesome.
We spent some of our time together talking about the need for JOY in the classroom because, lest you need reminding, spending the day with a bunch of little friends is pretty rad. One of biggest pet peeves right now? (And before I share this, remind yourself, I LOVE teachers.) One of biggest pet peeves right now are teachers who complain that “teaching isn’t fun anymore” and yet continue to sit at the table and o nothing about it. Because you know what? If you are all Mopey McMopeFace and complaining about not having any fun, can you imagine how your students feel?
I mean, just get yourself a tuba to follow you around and call it a day.
Let’s not get it twisted. You know Mrs. Mimi loves to complain. Venting is human. (If you don’t believe me, click here and grab a seat and something refreshing to drink.) Particularly when combined with cocktails which take complaining to a new level of gloriousness. And there is A TON to vent about when you are a teacher.
But complaining that “teaching isn’t fun anymore” and sitting at a table throwing yourself a pity party? Not cool. No, the Common Core State Standards are not infused with ready-made-joy. But, um, hello? Reading is kind of joyful. So is writing. And people tell me math can be fairly hot too. What about finding the joy and fun in creating something new? Or the joy in collaborating with like-minded colleagues? We have a responsibility to joy for ourselves and our students.
We want to inspire our students to be creative and imagine possibility for themselves, yet are often afraid to create and imagine possibility for ourselves.
Despite all the rubrics, checklists, curriculum guides and standards that are piled upon us in an endless stream that seeks to rob us of all control over our classroom lives, please can we hang on to that thing that makes teaching so exciting and teachers so amazing? Can we pretty please with a cocktail on top hang on to that ability to imagine possibility and joy in our daily classroom lives? This is something that can not be standardized, checked off or photocopied times 100.
But it is something we can defend. And at the end of the day, we have to be able to defend our teaching choices to our students, their families and ourselves.
Think of the dreams you had for yourself as a teacher. think of the dreams you have for your students. Think of the dreams you have for our profession.
We are fabulous.