Teaching With Joy

February 2004


by Joy Jones

     Failure and success - between the two, Iíd rather experience success.  But success comes with a price and failure has a few rewards (albeit, dubious) attached to it.  Read my thoughts on this phenomenon in this reading from my book, Private Lessons: A Book of Meditations for Teachers.

     Iíd rather fail trying to do something great than to do nothing and succeed.

     One way of believing you could have been an A student, is to never turn in your homework.  That way, you think that had you actually completed your homework, you would have done it well - but since you didnít, and no one will ever know... why not assume it would have been an A paper?

     One way of believing you could have played in the NBA is to drop out of school.  That way, you think that had you actually gone to college, a recruiter would have snapped you up because you would have been such a star on the court  - but since you didnít finish college, and no one can say what would have happened anyway, well... why not believe you would have played pro ball?

     When we hear our students say these things, we recognize them for what they are - excuses.  Pitiful, self-serving, ego-saving deceptions used to avoid taking the chance, doing the work, facing the challenge.  Whether the playing field of confrontation is a classroom,  boardroom,  or office, once you step into the ring, youíll have to fight the good fight and maybe even lose.  Youíll find out what your strengths and weakness are - and you wonít find out by sitting in an easy chair and reading about them in a book, but by having your qualities put to an actual test.  Yet even if you fall short, you can still stand tall because the experience will stretch you and make you grow. 

     Todayís lesson:  Nothing has to stop me from doing my best as a teacher.


Joy Jones is a third generation teacher, a playwright and the author of Between Black Women: Listening With the Third Ear, the acclaimed childrenís 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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