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Ode to Joy

A look at how we used education's new buzz word in the past year

Joy. It’s a word you hear often during the holidays. It’s not a word, though, that you hear often when it comes to education. At least it wasn’t until this past year, when “joy” became THE education buzzword. Everywhere you turned, there were headlines in the national media like “Restoring the Joy in Teaching” and “Building a Joyful Classroom.” Here, at HGSE, we were also using the word more often in our coverage and hearing it more often during interviews. As we head into the holiday season, we hope you find some of our stories inspiring, and, of course, joyful.

  • A Space for Joy,” a summer 2022 feature in Ed. magazine, looked at how the pandemic impacted school happiness, especially for tired teachers and educators.
  • Looking for a Book to Bring You Joy on Vacation?” was a Usable Knowledge compilation that ran this summer with reading suggestions related to “finding joy in the written word,” “finding joy in community and connection,” “finding joy in poetry,” and “finding joy in re-reading.”
  • National Teacher of the Year Juliana Urtubey spoke on the Harvard EdCast in May about “Creating Joyful Education Spaces.” While on campus, she also talked about joy in learning while giving this year’s Convocation speech to graduates.
  • Speaking of graduates, Sai Somboon, Ed.M.’22, and Celestina Lee, Ed.M.’22, both intellectual contribution award winners this past spring, mentioned joy in their Q+A's: “Joy in Movement” and “Classrooms Rich in Belonging, Love, and Joy.”
  • Mary Skipper, Ed.M.’06, Boston’s new superintendent, talked this fall about her desire to bring joy back to teachers and students in Boston Public Schools after COVID.
  • In the fall/winter issue of Ed., in a feature called “The Seekers,” Book Joy founder Cynthia Hagan, Ed.M.’22, talked about joy being an often-overlooked ingredient in learning, while current Ed.L.D. student Justis Lopez introduced readers to Project Happyvism and the Joy Lab, which he founded to help spread joy in education and through Black and Brown communities.
  • And looking forward to the spring 2023 issue of Ed., we will feature two alums who work for the City of Boston (Krina Patel, Ed.M.’01, Ed.D.’07, the director of community joy at a neighborhood social center, and Elizabeth Sanchez, Ed.M.’21, chief of staff to city councilor Gabriela Coletta), who are collaborating on a “community joy” project in East Boston.


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