So much is in the media yesterday and today regarding the Connecticut school tragedy. Facebook, Twitter, blogs, news sites…so much. While the tragedy was unfolding in Connecticut, I was in a meeting with our incoming principal for our school and unaware of the world stage. (Ironically?) I spent the morning talking to the incoming principal about progress our school has made towards a safer building: improvements to our lockdown policy, moves we made a few years ago towards ensuring outside doors are locked during the day, and basic purchases like blinds for outside windows in the process of “preparing for the worst, hoping for the best”.
When I got home yesterday, I began to realize what the world had been watching unfold. I spent the evening contemplating what my contribution to the thoughts and media flow would be. I observed people trolling for the digital footprint the principal of Sandy Hook had left, and realized with even more solidity that whatever choice I made it would be one forever “left behind” as I too do not know when I will leave this world – whether by my own choice, by Nature, or by someone else. So my contribution will focus on the title of my blog site – Joy Of Education.
I chose this title for my blog site for many reasons, some of which I will share in this post. The blog began because of my enrolment in a Masters of Education course that had a social media contribution as a component of the course, but I knew it would become a lasting part of my social media presence. I wanted to choose a blog title that would reach beyond the course requirements and be one to reflect myself, my educational perspective, and be one that – should I leave this earth – is a footprint indicative of all that floats within my brain/thinking space though much of it may yet to be articulated.
Education is, and should be, joy-filled. The joy of learning. The joy of teaching. The joy of interacting with young people. The joy of interacting with adult learners – staff and students. Joyful. Joy-filled. Joyous.
I am, and choose to be, joy-filled. With the joy of ongoing learning (pursuing my M.Ed.). With the joy of teaching (mentoring new teachers on my staff, supporting continuing staff members). With the joy of interacting with young people (in the hallways, classrooms, at sports events, concerts, at the local co-op, and the sheer joy of watching them grow up to be mature and responsible adults). With the joy of interacting with adult learners (through our district’s administrative council while sharing with other district principals, through provincial committees and pilot projects while sharing with colleagues around the province, and through social media interactions with teacher candidates, principals and teachers around the globe). Joyful. Joy-filled. Joyous.
My middle name is Joy. I strive daily to live up to that moniker.
At one point during our M.Ed. course, we were asked as one activity to write our obituary. I share this with you all now, a fitting end to this post that acknowledges the pain Connecticut parents, children, staff and the wider community is going through while still acknowledging all the joys of education and life itself. It is a brief obituary, written in the hope that I might choose my own scenario for leaving this earth, but fully in the knowledge that the choice is most certainly out of my hands. Blessings and prayers to you all as we continue our journey of life-long learning on this wonderful planet.
“Peacefully, surrounded by friends and family, Tanis Joy Thiessen left her earthly body behind on [date]. She lived a joy-filled life here on earth. Her spirit lives on in another world, continuing to strive to live up to her middle name. Rest eternal grant unto her. Shalom.”