Saturday, February 17, 2018

What about the Sweetness and Light of Teaching?

Friday's chat on #whatisschool was all about the sweetness and light of teaching - appropriate seeing as it was #nationalgumdropday - did you know there was such a thing?? I did not, but I'm very happy that there is.  (You should learn something new every day).

Back to the serious issue at hand.  When was the last time you celebrated the 'sweetness and light' of being a teacher? Of teaching and learning?  Take a moment to think about that one.  I know I did when I saw what the topic was for today's chat.  It wasn't so much the topic - it was the questions that really challenged me and then the chat itself even more so.  That's the power of a PLN (Professional Learning Network).  It doesn't matter whether they're face-to-face or online.  As long as they push you to reflect on your practice, to really get down deep into your thinking and beliefs about what you do, then they're really worth their weight in gold.

I love my online PLNs because they include such a wide range of educators from all sectors and from all parts of New Zealand and the globe.  That's real real power and real challenge if you truly want to be a reflective practitioner.  I've blogged about this many times before, (A few links to previous posts are below).  It's something I'm really passionate about and believe it's essential if we want to be the best we can be - for our students and also for ourselves and our colleagues.

Image source: #whatisschool Twitter chat

It really was the questions - and the discussion - that got me today though... Sweetness and light? 

I love a laugh but teaching and learning is a serious business - isn't it?  I wasn't too sure about this one... Then, as always the chat started and made me really question my own thinking and practice.
Image source: #whatisschool Twitter chat

  Think about this for a moment...

When was the last time we did this?  Have we ever done it?
Have we forgotten how to celebrate the joy of what we do?
What would happen if we stopped to take 10 minutes in each professional learning session or staff meeting to celebrate what we do?  How would that change our environment?  Is this something you already do?  What difference would it make to you? To your teaching and learning? Could it be a way of addressing teacher burnout?

Maybe we need to sometimes just take a little time out to reflect and celebrate the sweetness and light - the gumdrops of this crazy profession.

If you'd like to read through the gumdrops of wisdom from the chat today, please click this Storify link.

#whatisschool chat can be found on Twitter at 12.00pm NZDT.


Reflecting on Reflective Practice

Connecting to Your PLN for Powerful Reflective Practice

Communities of Practice

On Being A Connected Educator and Why I'm Grateful for the Connections

Social Media as a Learning Tool

Connecting to Your PLN for Powerful Reflective Practice

#whatisschool #reflectivepractice #CommunitiesofPractice


  1. This is such a great post, Justine. You are so right. I start every time determined to be really positive and to not sweat the small stuff......but as the term gets busier and busier, I seem to need reminding that teaching is a really fun job! Bullet journalling has helped me lots to fight my anxiety. I write my daily highlights each evening and this is such an awesome process for training myself to look for joy!

    1. You are so right Bridget. One of the schools I worked in a few years ago - still my all-time favourite, used to have a slot at the start of every meeting for us to share 3 things that we wanted to celebrate. I think it really helped us to try and maintain that passion and joy, especially when the term was getting a bit full-on.
      I think we need to start pushing back on some of the craziness so that we don't lose our joy - or sweetness and light - sounds corny but that's why so many of us are in this profession. If we don't have that, then how can we help our students see it?

  2. I loved reading this... it poked right in the spot that I have been reflecting on lately in my own practice. At our staff dev day on Thursday one of the first tasks I scheduled was a post it activity where we were challenged to note all the good stuff that had happened at school in the last term (in our classrooms, our own practice, our team and for the whole school)... it was such a good feeling to reflect on and celebrate the good that is going on when we know there is so much more that we could/can/should be doing. Amen for bringing the joy, sweetness and light back into all aspects of school... this is my challenge for my own classroom for Term 4.

  3. I love that Meg! Hope I get to visit one day soon. I think, particularly in the current climate, we need to really work hard to keep the positives to the fore. I'm feeling that we are starting to lose this a little. It almost makes me want to go back to school to try and change what's happening - for the sake of our teachers and our students. I've often been accused of being too much of a Pollyanna but I'll take that.