planning for joy

The choice of my plan book is more important than the clothes I wear. It is my constant companion. It is the vessel that holds onto the past, the present, and the future. It is the frame I put all the elements of my day into. I’m not sure if I came to teaching with proclivity or it was developed because of it. In any case, successful teaching requires planning. Backward, forward, and constant readjustment within the lesson, the day, the week, the unit, the year.

Perhaps it is a occupational hazard.

I can’t seem to get out of bed without thinking through the ins and outs, of the day. And just like school, I think through the big to the small. The scope and sequence. Prioritizing most important to least important. It keeps order and control. Things get accomplished and I like that.

But I wonder, is the plan and the act of it taking over? By that mean, what about the spontaneous? My first thought is, where might I plan for that? Weekends? Fridays? Should it be around a certain theme? Where should I let the possible unplanned seep into the plan?

Which brings me to a conversation I had with a colleague last week. She said, “what we need to work on is finding joy.”

It’s such a tiny word with such expectation attached to it. If you look it up, you find words like exultation, jubilation, exuberance, glee, euphoria. Sounds intense and potentially counter to the plan. The plan being the intended result or destination. But, how might joy be a part of the plan? Some would contend it should be the plan. I’m thinking it is a byproduct or a result of what we do. So where could it be and how can I invite joy more in?

Friday, I asked my students, what would you change to make the class better?
Looking at their answers with the lens of joy and learning, my kiddos offered up.

Kahoot – One of my students makes his own Kahoots
This means, more student led work. More ownership

Decimals – Right now they are struggling with division
This means, more success in the work they do. More opportunities to be successful. Smaller steps.

Longer breaks
I get this. One of the beauties of distance learning. There are no bells we have to conform to.

Time after school to be with each other – ❤️ this
This means, they are a community and need time to socialize.

Fun and games – no surprise
This means, lighten the load with low stakes learning.

Let me get my plan book…

Day 13 Slice of Life Challenge.
Find more slices here.

6 thoughts on “planning for joy

  1. I am a lister and a planner and this resonates with me so much! I think it’s important to question how plans might impede spontaneity as you mention, but it just seems like your plans flex with each new opportunity and thinking about inviting more joy is so necessary.

  2. The end is perfect, ironic and absolutely something professional colleagues nod with in agreement. Hey, if you don’t build it in intentionally, it won’t happen. The kids as creators, like Kahoot, always a winner!

  3. I’m going to take some of your advice and try it in my own life. I like your list at the end and the positive spin on them. Thank you for sharing, and good luck with your ventures with finding more joy in life!

  4. Oh, this post has me thinking. One thing I really miss with online teaching is spontaneity, because I see that as a place where joy often occurs in my teaching. And because there isn’t much spontaneity, there hasn’t been all the joy I want my students to experience with learning. I’m thinking about how I can invite more joy in for the rest of the year. Thank you for this post!

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