Sometimes life throws a moment at you. One that you weren’t expecting. One that came out of nowhere and filled your heart with joy. Joy is defined as a ‘feeling of pleasure or delight’. We usually associate joy with the ‘big’ things in our lives. The birth of a baby, the union of lovers, purchasing your first big thing. These moments are easy to recognise and easy to celebrate but they don’t tend to happen every day.
Joy can come from the little things, the things that we can easily miss. Schools are full of these moments, we just need to see them. Seeing does not mean looking because you can’t find them if you look. Joy is one of those feelings that pops up, no warning, it just suddenly appears.
Last week I was working with a group of year 6 students and they were working on writing. The task was to write a story that had meaning for them so that they could take the reader on a journey. One little guy was really struggling with the task because he just couldn’t find a meaningful place to write from. He was too stressed about writing a plan, checking his spelling, his punctuation…the mechanics. He was concerned that ‘he would never be a writer’. We sat and talked for a bit about the stories that he liked best and what it was about them that made them so good. He became animated recalling his favourite parts, the scariest event, the way it ended and was bright eyed in his retelling. We talked about how he had had some pretty cool things happen in his life, the kinds of things that had happened to him and how someone else might like to go on that journey with him. At last he had an idea.
I went back into his class about a few weeks later and he came rushing up to me, a huge smile from ear to ear and declared in his loudest voice “I’m becoming an author!” Now I don’t know what had happened in-between visits but the proclamation filled my heart with joy. It was surprising. It caught me off guard. It filled my heart, and if I am honest my eyes filled with tears, because his joy was real. So was mine.
We don’t always get to see the affect or impact that we have on our students. But, what we do counts for a lot. One student making a leap forward in their learning and joyfully sharing with you counts. It counts and it is these little moments of joy that keep us doing what it is that teachers and leaders do. See. Joy.