Joy in education, Storytelling, The Calm Classroom

Candlemas – Brighten up February with candles and snowdrops and PANCAKES

So, today is Candlemas! Traditionally its when candles where taken into church to be blessed. It occurs 40 days after Christmas, and is known in the church year as The Presentation of Christ in the Temple, when Mary took Jesus to the temple to be blessed.

Snowdrops are sometimes called Candlemas Bells as they tend to open about now. There is a legend about the snowdrop that says an angel took pity on Eve after she and Adam were banished and made a snowdrop bloom as a symbol of hope to cheer her up.

As with many Christian festivals there are echoes of pagan festivals underneath it. Candlemas falls on or around a cross-quarter day, midway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. So, the days are getting longer again!

Known as Imbolc (lambs’ milk) because the lambing season begins around now it was also called Brigantia for the Celtic female deity of light. In the Christian tradition we recall St Brigid on 1 February.

In some countries pancakes are eaten at Candlemas.

SOoooooo

Light candles

Make pancakes

Take photos of/draw/look closely at snowdrops. Find your hope for the coming year.

God bless

Jenny x

For more information try http://projectbritain.com/year/february.htm

or https://www.almanac.com/quarter-days-and-cross-quarter-days

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Character Strengths, Joy in education, Storytelling, Uncategorized, Well-being in education

A Saintly Request!!!

A special request! In the past I have written stories for school assemblies, simple versions to tell aloud. Quite a few of those stories figure saints – St Werberga (One of my geese is missing!) St Bridget, St Columba. These feature together with traditional folk stories and other faith stories in a book I published with TTS called Character Strength Assemblies https://www.tts-group.co.uk/assemblies-for-cha…/1009310.html

I would LOVE to write a similar book that collects together saints from different traditions and, for that matter, secular saints. Saints have BIG characters and are great for children to know about and think about. Could anybody, especially those from other faith traditions, help me out here with ideas for who to include and some stories???

Joy in education, Well-being in education

The importance of joy and pleasure in education

Today, I have been working on my PhD. And as a result of my reading and writing today, what is uppermost in my mind is the importance of pleasure – the simple pleasures of teaching, learning, writing, researching – and just living. I feel that pleasure in learning, what Simone Weil called ‘joy in the work’ is in danger of being eclipsed in all the talk of targets, improvements, standards etc.

Weil wrote that the intelligence only grows and bears fruit in joy. If she is right and I think she is, then much of what happens in schools today is not about growing intelligence. If teachers feel no joy in teaching, children are unlikely to feel much joy in learning, and if children don’t feel that joy in learning, that thrill of discovery, that freedom to try and to fail and try again, they will want to leave education as quickly as possible instead of seeing learning as a delight to pursue throughout their lives.

And today, I have felt joy. Joy in standing at my desk (I stand to work, sit down to rest); joy in reviewing the videos of my conversations with colleagues and pupils. Joy in the fact that I have the time and the energy and the mental space to write a PhD. Joy in the sunshine of a spring day in my study.

Interestingly, this joy does not preclude struggle or discomfort. I struggle to express my ideas clearly, feel anxiety about whether my work is of the required standard, get frustrated at trying to sort out a muddle of an over-long chapter into two tight, well-argued and interesting ones. There is dis-comfort in learning, too and it can sit, strangely enough, alongside the joy, even deepening it.

And what about the simple joys of standing, sitting, breathing, looking that my training as an Alexander Technique teacher has opened my eyes to? Those are there in the classroom too – but mostly, we’re too worried about targets and goals to notice. And that seems really rather sad. So now, I will end a day’s reflections with the joy of a walk in the sunshine. And, if you read this, I wish you a drop of joy too.

Weil, Simone. (1959) Reflections on the right use of school studies with a view to the love of God London: Fontana Books