Schools are special places. They are about relationships. We are invested in our students, not just academically but personally....no matter how much we sometimes try and distant ourselves from this. This last week always brings the intensity of those relationships to the forefront. Like a proud mother I celebrate as my students names get called to receive first place in whatever subject they excelled at. Likewise my heart breaks as I see students not quite get the result they were aiming for in a final exam because ultimately an examination mark can never truly reflect how much they tried or how much they overcame that year. I feel overwhelmed by joy as that disconnected kid writes me a christmas card saying that I am their favourite teacher; overwhelmed with beauty as the Christmas play unfolds, angels rising up in a pyramid of joy; overwhelmed with love when a colleague gives me a reassuring hug sensing my feeling of inadequacy.
Over the last ten (and a half weeks) I have collected over 400 pieces of teaching joy. My last piece of joy for this term is surviving another year of teaching. Yes some days it feels like surviving. I really believe this is one of the hardest jobs in the world and if we don't take the time to find the joys then we are essentially just surviving. However, looking back at my 400 joys I am reminded that every challenge is worth it, every tear shows I care and the hours of work really do make a difference. I am also reminded of the relationships that are at the centre of the majority of these joys. This is not only one of the hardest jobs in the world, it is one of the best. Seriously, in what other profession would you have a crowd carol sing off, sit in prayer and reflection with your colleagues on the last day of work or extend your family to include hundreds of extra children?
As we move into 2016 I challenge each of you to sit and write a list of teaching joys from this year. What has brought you happiness? What are you grateful for? Share the list with your colleagues and friends.
Then take the time to rejuvenate, relax and nourish yourself as you take a much deserved break!
Forty Pieces of Teaching Joy - Week Ten and a Half
1. Meaningful discussion about thinking routines with colleagues.
2. The most thoughtful gift from one beautiful student. Each time I wear it I will think of her and her kindness.
3. The promotional design for my play was finished and I am SUPER in love with it.
4. Staff room Christmas antics.
6. The completion of The Genius Project. One of the best units I have ever run.
7. Watching sugar glass being smashed over a student’s head. (Note: She was wearing a hard hat). #itsadramateacherthing
8. The number of students that helped me clean up the sugar glass!
9. Students who trust their drama class enough to share their personal stories through performance.
10. The kid that gave it a go despite her anxiety and moved me to tears.
11. The kid that made a stunning video to accompany her poetry slam.
12. Another great physical theatre workshop with Swoop Physical Theatre Company.
13. Learning to juggle….or at least attempting too.
14. Dancing to Christmas carols with year 12.
15. The colleague who brought a coffee for me on a crazy busy day.
16. A beautiful Christmas liturgy.
17. Kids that step up when you need them.
18. My pyramid of angels not collapsing mid performance.
19. Christmas morning teas.
20. Winning the house trivia competition. (It is very serious!)
21. A house carol sing off!
22. The donation of over 100 books for the Smith Family Christmas Toy and Book Appeal.
23. Hearing my drama students called to receive their awards at presentation evening.
24. The awkwardness of the band playing the theme from Game of Thrones as the academic procession marched out of presentation evening.
25. The many Christmas cards and gifts I received from staff and students this week.
26. Finishing my registers!
27. Planning for next year’s creative arts festival.
28. Working with some beautiful boys on a late Friday rehearsal.
29. Learning more about Cultures of Thinking from a very talented colleague.
30. The opportunity to refresh our CPR skills each year. Wish every human being had this type of training.
31. Time assisting and getting to know the science coordinator better. (Touched she sees me as more than 'just a drama teacher').
32. The kid who cleaned my storeroom.
33. A dance party on the basketball courts.
34. Squirting students with water pistols on a 38 degree day.
35. The t-shirt man who is printing my cast t-shirts and his ongoing patience.
36. The bursar who processed an order for me after the books were closed for the year.
37. Much needed hugs and kind words from colleagues.
38. Staff Christmas carols bringing laughter and joy.
39. Christmas high tea to celebrate the year at the Gunner’s Barracks.
40. Surviving another year of teaching. #thisisthehardestjobintheworld