This is a re-post of a letter I wrote to teachers on Joy.
Joy is the magic word!
As you start your new school year there is one word that will get you through the uncertainty and the worry. It’s the same word that is the heart of educating. That word is ‘joy’. No, it’s not the happiness that children bring. It’s the happiness that you bring because it inspires and ignites the mind and the heart of children. Yes, that’s how it works.
Children come to you with big eyes, looking at you to teach them. They don’t know what to think. They want to learn, yet what they really want is to be inspired to learn. That is where you can make a difference.
What do you like? Because whatever it is, from math to music, that ‘like’ will become your best buddy, your guiding star, and the foundation to teach all the things that you like. It will also become a portal to help you teach the things you may not enjoy. If you know that every day you have some window of time to teach what you love, then you become an educator. You go beyond teaching curriculum; you teach the child.
Do you like reading? Does Because of Winn-Dixie or Charlotte’s Web make your heart jump? Well, carry that book around and read it aloud on the playground, in the lunchroom, or at the bus stop. If this is your passion, children will know, and they will listen. They will learn.
Do you like science? Carry a tuning fork, magnet, magnifying glass or flashlight in your pocket. Pick up interesting pieces of nature and explore them with children. This is one of the fundamental constants for learning. If you are grounded in nature and science, bring your curiosity and discovery to the classroom and the playground; then the world will open up for children.
Do you love music? Sing your favorite songs, sing the words to a book, sing poetry, or just sing the words that you say. If this is your passion children will know. They’ll listen and learn. Introduce children to the music you love. I bring my record player and old albums into the classroom. Some years they love Beethoven, other years the Beatles. The point is, they will love the music because you do.
Do you love art? Don’t be afraid to use real artist’s watercolors when introducing art. Children enjoy learning about famous pieces of art, too. If you treat a child like an artist and treat the work s/he creates like a masterpiece, the results are remarkable. When a child has created something and is incredibly proud, ask the child to give the art a title and record that to the work of art. This simple affirmation has done more for the confidence and character of children than most anything I have done.
You may only like one thing, but that alone will open the door to help you teach the rest.
We all know that the emotional and social pieces for children need to be ‘there’ before effective learning takes place. Well, flip-flop that fact from the child to the teacher. If you the teacher are not grounded in an emotional and social component of educating, then how in the world can you get your message across to children? You have to share your love and passions. That’s your joy. In that way, you are sharing you. And, all that children want to know is that you love them and love what you are teaching. If they know that, the floodgates will open to learning.
Maya Angelou was right when she said, “…people will never forget how you made them feel”. The children I have taught for decades often return to school to visit. They can’t put a finger on what it was in my classroom, but they come back. Joy is the magic word.
Good post, and good thoughts, my Dear Jennie! …Most of the time, I Teach Values! My Tool in this becomes …The Opportunity! I use Every Single bit of them! 🙂
You are teaching exactly what children and people need most. I’m so glad. Values build a foundation for learning. Yes, it is a golden opportunity! Wonderful!. 🙂
Thank You, my Dear Jennie! Love and Regards. 🙂
You are welcome! 🙂
Wise words Jennie! You just described my BEST teachers. Almost 5 decades later I still remember . . .
Thank you, Pam. I remember mine, too. 🙂
You make me want to go back to Kindergarten – not sure if I want to be the child or the teacher.Have a great first week, Jennie.
Thank you, Anneli. Sometimes I feel like the child, and sometimes I feel like the teacher. I like both, too. 🙂
Thanks for seeing the big picture, Jennie. I wish my son could have had you as a teacher. You’ve nailed one of the most basic concepts of teaching. When we care and are engaged, the kids will too. I used to run around and play games with my students at P.E. (even in my fifties). Those were times of pure joy.
You are welcome, Pete. Thank you for reading and commenting. I know you absolutely get it, too. It’s so basic, but it took me a while to fully understand and get there. Like you, I get immersed in child’s play. What’s with the teachers who just stand watch on the playground? I wish I’d been your son’s teacher, too. 🙂
Beautiful Letter, Jennie.
Thank you, John.
Wonderful letter Jennie!
Thank you, Ritu!
great post. I always feel like the students remember the things you love the best about each year. what makes you feel excited it what they will be excited about too
Yes! You are exactly right. Many thanks!
Your post is very inspiring for beginner teacher like I am… Thank you very much!
Thank you, Analou! It took me some years to realize that joy is what what inspires children to want to learn. I’m so glad this inspired you. My passion that I bring to children is reading aloud. I know you will have something, too.
Jennie, what an inspirational letter to teacher.. You dear Jennie bring Joy in all you do both here on your blog and especially within your classroom..
I bet some of your students can’t wait to be back in your class again..
Much love my friend ❤
Thank you so much, Sue! Tomorrow is the big day when children have their first day of school. I’m so excited. Your kind words are much appreciated. ❤️
Likewise here in the UK 💖 have a great new term 🤗
This is such wonderful advice, Jennie.
Thank you, Robbie!
Nobody knows better than you how ‘IT’ works, Jennie. They should give a copy to everyone at Teacher Training School.
Best wishes, Pete.
If new teachers had a course on joy and teaching, that could change the lives of children. Thank you, Pete. Your kind and enthusiastic words are greatly appreciated.
I’ve always contended that learning should be a joyful act–no matter what your age! And you’re right; the teachers I learned the most from took such delight in what they were teaching.
Well said, Liz. Like you, the teachers I remember and learned from were enthusiastic and eager to teach us. Learning needs to be fun. If the teacher isn’t joyous, then learning goes out the window. That’s so sad.
Wonderful message for us all, Jennie! Sharing…
Thank you, Bette. I’m so glad you enjoyed this.
Wonderful! Wonderful! Wonderful! Jennie, you nailed it. What a simple yet profound introduction to teaching, and life, in general. Bring the passion, your passion, to work and you’ll excite the folks around you. Wonderful, Jennie!👍
Thank you so much, Steve! It’s all true for teachers. 🙂
I agree… our energy, joy inspires the children not the maths, science or whatever it is itself!
I always put a big or a little something that I like into everything… and my enthusiasm makes the children to want to stick to me and get inspired by me!
You are absolutely right! Thank you for your thoughts.
Beautiful post, Jennie! If we aren’t teaching the child/children, of what use are we? There is no joy in simply pounding away at the curriculum. It’s how the kids get turned off and look elsewhere for that which they yearn.
Hear hear! Thank you, John. 😀
This is a marvelous article, Jennie. Well worth another share. All of your posts “spark joy.” Thank you for being you. Hugs on the wing!
Thank you, Teagan! 😊
Wonderful post Jennie, inspiring and motivating… I have shared in the Blogger Daily this evening..hugsx
Thank you, Sally! 🙂
Pingback: Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – September 4th, 2019 – Jennie Fitzkee, Sue Vincent, Robbie Cheadle, James J. Cudney | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine
Thank you so much, Sally! 😍
I remember this letter, Jennie. So inspiring and true not only about teaching. I’m glad that your kids come back to the feelings of joy.
Thank you, Diana. I think the inspiration goes beyond teaching. Yes, the kids do come back to the feelings of Joy. It’s wonderful!
I hope every teacher approaches class like this.
Thank you, Dan. I do, too.
An awesome role modeling, Jennie!! 💕👍💞))))❤((((
Thank you so much!
Your joy shines through in all you do, Jennie…I would back to school if you were my teacher 🙂
Awww… that’s so nice! Thank you, Carol!
So true.. My pleasure, Jennie 😀 x
Inspirational. Will be sharing this with all my teacher friends and family.
Thank you, James. I’m glad you found it inspirational.
Wonderful. A great motivation too. Honestly, who else is writing letters of fun to teachers. Lol Have a nice weekend! Michael
Thank you, Michael. I wish I’d read a letter like that when I started teaching, and also when things were tough in teaching. I hope it helps other teachers. Have a great weekend! 🙂
Its wonderful. Hope others will make too. Have great weekend too, Jennie. Michael
Thank you, Michael. Happy Weekend to you!
Reblogged this on charles french words reading and writing and commented:
Here is yet another excellent post on the importance of joy for teachers from Jennie, the wonderful teacher!
Thank you, Charles!
Your letter is magical. It talks of the supreme art of teaching, as in Einstein’s “It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.”
Thank you so much! I love the Einstein quotation, too.
Well done, Jennie.
This is beautiful.
Thank you so much!
Outstanding, and so not surprised you wrote this Jennie. I sure hope the teachers share it far and wide. ❤
Thank you so much, Debby. I hope this letter spreads to teachers!
Jennie, this is so beautiful! You are such an inspiration. I wished I had a teacher like you when I was a child.
Thank you, Kally. That is so nice. 😊
Thank you very much for this insightful and uplifting post! I really enjoyed reading it and hearing your thoughts! I have recently published an article on my blog about why I love joy, and it’s positive impact in the world. If you have time, it would be great if you could check out my post as I would be interested to hear your thoughts! Thanks 🙂
Pingback: Finding Joy – A Letter to Teachers | WINDOWS FROM HEAVEN Photography -Reaching Millions Worldwide with HOPE,COMFORT,TRUTH, and INSPIRATION In 2020.