Teaching With Joy

February 2003


by Joy Jones

     Q: Do you know any teachers who could use a little inspiration?
     A: EVERY teacher could use a little inspiration.

     Here's a little inspiration on the topic of ACTION, taken from the book, Private Lessons: A Book of Meditations for Teachers by Joy Jones

     "The truth of the matter is that you always know the right thing to do. The
hard part is doing it." -- General H. Norman Schwarzkopf

     The music teacher was the new teacher in the school. She didn't know that Reggie was one of the "knuckleheads", but she soon found out. He had a chip on his shoulder, and he was sullen and unresponsive in her music appreciation class. She took the time to talk to Reggie and found out that he was having a lot of problems at home - a mother struggling to get off of drugs, a father who lived in another state whom he missed sorely, a big sister who was serving a jail term, and his own curiosity about the excitement of the street life. By talking with Reggie on a regular basis she helped him to drop - by degrees - his hard edge. Almost in spite of himself, he began to like music class - so much so, he decided to take up playing the trumpet. Soon he was a member of the band. Then as school began to be more fun as a result of music class, he began to do better in all his other subjects, too.

     One day the English teacher stopped the music teacher in the hall. "Reggie was an absolute hellion last school year. He is doing so much better nowadays," the English teacher said to her colleague. "And it's all because you took an interest in him."

     "That's true", said the music teacher. "But why didn't you?"

     Today's lesson: I take a personal interest in those around me.

Joy Jones is a third generation teacher, a playwright and the author of Between Black Women: Listening With the Third Ear, the acclaimed children’s book, Tambourine Moon, and Private Lessons: A Book of Meditations for Teachers.  You may view her web site at: www.JoyJonesOnline.com.






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