January 5, 2016
I have been thinking about my 2016 One Little Word for the last few weeks. I started a list, read posts by others, and thought some more. Words I considered included: be, spark, mindful, intentional, more, and present, but joy is the word I am going to focus on this year.
I have just returned from a 15-day trip through Vietnam. What struck me throughout my time there is how warm the people are. I had so much fun exploring with new friends and sharing snippets with old friends. It was a challenge for me to be without any family over the Christmas/New Yer time period and I was not sure how it would feel. It was a good reminder to me that I have to celebrate little things.
Arriving back in the early morning hours of the 3rd, I used yesterday to mentally prepare for the new year. I bought a “joy journal” where I will record at least one moment of joy each day of 2016. I also set my Goodreads challenge for the year, as reading brings me such joy (note to self- I am going to try not to pressure myself unduly about my reading- I set a goal of averaging a book a day over the break and I am woefully behind- looking for the joy, I have enjoyed the books I have read so far). I bought myself several other notebooks too, in part because I want to push myself to write more, but also, because I want to start a “for school” writing notebook. In addition, I subscribed to the 40 Hour Teacher Workweek Club- I know that I can be more productive with my time and this is a way to nudge myself to work smarter.
I am going to try to inject more joy into my life- I tend to be very solitary, and this is okay, but sometimes I do need people around me, so I am going to try to push myself to be more active socially. Tomorrow I am meeting a friend for lunch and on the weekend I will go to a ballet with another. I am already looking ahead to future breaks and look forward to visiting friends in Berlin (where I lived for 11 years) to catch up. I have signed up for two workshops in April (Visible Thinking and Rethinking Literacy) and I look forward to both. As I continue to pilot the new Lucy Calkins units of study I am eager to get training and will definitely apply for the summer institutes. Learning is one of my greatest joys.
I am also looking for ways to bring even more joy into my classroom. I struggle with balancing all that I feel I must do and sometimes lose sight of the things that I know are good for the kids in the hustle and bustle. The last day before the break we held our first class EdCamp and I want to build in more student-led initiatives. Starting back on Monday I will have my students choose their own word- we talked about it before, so they know that it is coming. My hope is that this will remind them that it is our class (not mine) so that we all support each other as we work toward our goals. I can’t wait to see what words they choose.
I am looking for new ways to find joy in my own life and share joy with others. In choosing “joy,” I am considering the many sides of joy- the giving, taking, and finding joy. I want to be more aware of the joy in the every day. I am thinking that the focus on joy will have the added benefit of creating a thankfulness and more peace. I look forward to joy in 2016!