There is no doubt that this is, comparatively speaking, a stressful time of year. Professionally there is much to do, kids are restless, and for many of us, our own children’s graduations and transitions loom big. I am right there with all of you. Two of my three kids are preparing for new lives, one heading to college and the other continuing grad school by leaving the Carozza nest.
This is when I turn a bit philosophical, count my blessings, and search for my core beliefs which settle my mind a bit. My staff has heard me say this often: I hold to the truth that as human beings, we can’t always be happy – life is just too hard – but we can be joyful. We could look at our lives as a series of things we have to do and of commitments that need to be met. Or, we can choose to find the enjoyment in our students’ successes, the humor we see in our colleagues, and simply the privilege of having a great job and family.
In our school we have focused more than ever on academic achievement this year via PLCs, WIN groups, new math programs, and a focus on data. But in the midst of fulfilling our mission, I never want to lose the joy that comes from enjoying each other. Dean Shareski wrote on this topic this week and he uses a parallel of two airlines to illustrate joy and then pulls that metaphor into our lives in schools.
I worry about the advent of Common Core and the use of data to evaluate teachers. I’m not concerned for accountability – I only want the overriding element of joy to prevail in the midst of the teaching and learning that our students and educators will accomplish. For academic success without joy is not success at all.