Teaching With Joy

March 2003


by Joy Jones

     Peace on earth, goodwill towards all... and wouldn't it be wonderful if it could start in your classroom? Spread some serenity this season. Here is a reflection on the topic of PEACE, taken from the book, Private Lessons: A Book of Meditations for Teachers by Joy Jones.

A soft word turns away wrath.

     Lynn was disliked by every member of the fourth grade and I wasn't too fond of her myself. As the substitute teacher, I was only there for the day but I wasn't sure if I was going to make it without throttling her. When she threw her notebook at me, I grabbed her by the arm and marched her down to the principal's office.

     Mr. Foster saw the sullen expression on Lynn's face and the steam spewing out of my ears as we approached him. He didn't appear alarmed, didn't scold Lynn or lecture me. Mr. Foster simply invited us to sit down, as if we were guests in his living room, rather than two very angry and upset people. He spoke in a quiet, modulated voice. Somehow, his peaceful presence calmed me, helped to dissipate my anger. Even Lynn softened and became more tractable.

     It taught me the value of modeling calm. A peaceful spirit can be contagious. Does your workplace need an outbreak of rampant serenity?

     Today's Lesson: Today, I am an instrument of peace.


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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