Joy in the Journey

I made this collage over the weekend because I needed a pick-me-up, and nothing picks me up like Autumn. When the calendar turns to September, I know that Fall is not too far behind. It’s hard to explain, but pumpkins, haystacks, cider, and falling leaves in all their splendor bring me a true sense of peace and calm.

September also brings back-to-school. Any excuse to buy new writing utensils, notebooks, and stickers makes my heart flutter like those falling leaves. This year that excitement is tempered by the “new normal” we are all facing. I will be going back in-person to my 7th grade students; and while I am really excited to be back in my classroom, my head is spinning with all the Covid protocols and new procedures put in place to protect the students and teachers. It can be overwhelming if you let it, but I am doing my best not to let it rob me of the joy of teaching and all the reasons I became a teacher so many years ago.

To that end, I have a notebook waiting to be covered with pretty paper that will bring me joy. Every day before I leave school, I will list the things that brought me joy.

I know that I will be exhausted next week when school begins – I am every first week of school every year let alone the first week of school during a pandemic! That doesn’t mean I won’t be joyfully tired!

I know it is going to be difficult for everyone, and some days might be tougher than others, but if I only focus on the tough parts, I am in danger of losing my joy, and for a teacher that is career-threatening. Although I have been teaching for a long time, my journey is not over; Covid is not going to highjack my joy!

7 thoughts on “Joy in the Journey

  1. Loved your voice of enthusiasm and happiness for fall. I share your joy for fall. I so remember that beginning of school exhaustion. Keeping you and all my teacher friends close at heart as you navigate a new beginning. Have a joyful week and keep that upbeat voice! I loved hearing it.

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  2. Rita, I like your apprach to this crazy time. It is one of optimism and joy. That is the best place to keep our heads right now. When I have allowed myself to become afraid or nervous, I just get stressed. Breathing deep, praying and just embracing the times have helped me stay positive and joyful these first weeks of school.

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  3. Good luck to you and your students! I especially liked two lines in your story-beginning each day with a list of what gives you joy and ‘joyfully tired’. Love that line!!! What a great way to end each day-joyfully tired! Have an awesome year filled with joy! 🙂

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  4. I know that when you flip the season to Fall, you become beyond joyful. It’s a peaceful exuberance. That being said, COVID-19 is going to be a classroom adventure for you and your students during the first several weeks.
    Fortunately, you are not alone. You have a strong faith and you love your students.
    Have a pumpkin spice tea when you get home and decompress…..one day at a time my friend. 🍁🍂🍁

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  5. Rita, I’m with you all the way on the little things that bring joy to each day – a bright spot of color here, pretty paper there – not to mention the cool, spicy reprieve of autumn! How welcome it will be. That expression “joyfully tired” is such a testimony to the strength of your spirit – pressing on and extracting the joy, for it’s always there. somewhere. Such a refreshing and encouraging – and timely – post. Thank you for your restorative words.

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