We hope you receive this book as a blessing. May your schools, classrooms, and homes be filled with joy. Real joy. The kind you experience when spending time with others who share your sense of purpose and common commitment to the love and growth of children.
Throughout our land, homes and schools are filled with a tangible joy. You can see it, feel it, and hear it when you walk into a great school or a loving home. Not the momentary joy of amusement, but the life-sustaining, heartfelt joy of those who feel privileged to contribute to the development of youngsters.
Have you ever seen a master craftsperson at work? They move easily and deliberately, and cannot be flustered or hurried. Master teachers are the same, heart and brain working in sync, centered by their clear purpose. They share the same joy as their students when absorbed in meaningful learning, feeling its inherent quality and value.
To those who advocate school improvement and reform, as we do, please consider two things. Schools are working harder and accomplishing more than ever. And, all school improvement initiatives might well be examined from the perspective of whether they will add to, or detract from, joyous teaching and learning experiences in the classroom.
Whether whole language or TQM, integrated thematic instruction or vision training, educational initiatives should enhance the quality of joy in our schools. We must advocate for improvements and initiatives that consider the importance of maintaining a spirit of joy within the teachers, students, and parents.
We hope the stories, articles, and vignettes in Teaching and Joy will reinforce the perspective that great learning and great teaching can occur only in an atmosphere of love, clear purpose, and commitment. To us, that describes an atmosphere of joy. Our authors remind us to value and protect the joy in our hearts and homes and schools. If this book helps recapture your own joyous sense of teaching or learning, then we have truly accomplished our objective. May you look upon all of life's teaching and learning experiences through eyes of joy.