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In this episode, we are talking about everything that brings us joy in education. We are reflecting on why we do what we do, and what keeps us moving forward in the field of education.

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Bitmoji of Katie and Rachel. Katie's arms are reaching out to either side, palms up, with the text "WHY?"

Show Notes

This week, we are excited to be back with a new episode after a few weeks off! We wanted to share with everyone what brings us joy in education, and why we keep doing this profession.

Despite how chaotic and difficult it can be, we are still doing it, so we certainly still enjoy teaching. Sometimes it’s good to reflect and take the time to think about and remember the reasons we went into teaching, and what is important, particularly if you are feeling exhausted and drained of energy, as many educators are feeling right now.

Students, Relationships and the Classroom

Students are a huge part of why we are educators. Watching and supporting students as they figure out who they are, and watching them get comfortable with their new learning, language, etc. can be such a rewarding experience.

Being in the classroom and building relationships is such an exciting and important part of being an educator. It can be easy to get lost in a number of leadership roles or other roles outside of the classroom, but the classroom, and teaching and interacting with students is what we originally signed up for, and can be so much more rewarding.


Many educators may find themselves at a crossroads, where they need to make a decision about whether they want to pursue admin positions or other leadership opportunities. It is important to know that it’s okay to explore these opportunities and to take your time to make sure that it is the right decision for you.

It’s incredibly important to take a pulse check at various points in our careers as educators; do we still enjoy our job? what’s working? what isn’t? It is so easy to get in a funk, and there are so many external factors that affect how we feel about our roles, particularly in public education, so we need to make sure that we take the time to check in and make sure our “why” is still relevant and that education still brings us joy.

Bitmoji of Katie and Rachel both smiling and looking really happy; Text: YAY!

Rachel recently finished the book “Decisive” by Chip and Dan Heath. In this text, they talk about this concept called “ooching,” a mashup between inch and ouch, where you test or experiment a decision that you are thinking about on a smaller scale.

When faced with big decisions and potentially leaving the classroom (or returning), it’s a good idea to test the waters on a smaller scale, without jumping in right away. If thinking about becoming a vice principal or principal, you could do this by trying out the “teacher in charge” role, where you get to see what this position entails, and work in this position temporarily for a shorter period of time.

Leadership Opportunities

Being a department head can certainly bring joy to your career as an educator. There are many different aspects to this role that bring a variety of challenges and opportunities, without removing yourself from the classroom. For example, Rachel enjoys participating in the staffing and timetabling process as a department head; she sees it as a big, fun logic puzzle!

Katie loves the relationships that she has built as a department head. Having joined her current school as the department head, she didn’t know the school community or her colleagues very much. Taking the time to problem solve, collaborate and socialize with her department has been an incredible and rewarding experience as they navigate some innovative approaches, changes to courses, etc. For this reason, the people are what brings joy to her role as an educator and department head in her new school.


Bitmoji of Katie and Rachel. Katie is smiling as she enters the frame of the image; text: Yay! It's you!!

Continuing with this idea of relationships, the people you work with, in your department or in the school community, make such a big difference in how much you enjoy your job. Social connections are so important, something that we have certainly become more aware of as a result of covid, and educators need these connections just like everyone else. Being able to walk into a staff room or workroom, and have simple conversations with colleagues that share your interests can be such an important factor to consider when we talk about joy in our careers.

Being part of a larger community, such as a school, can be so much fun. In bigger schools, you will find that departments have more teachers, so you tend to socialize quite a bit based on course teams, departments, etc. In smaller schools, there are fewer people in your department, so you tend to interact with teachers in a variety of different departments. Each brings with it its own advantages.


While it may sound strange that teachers may find joy in this, learning is such a rewarding part of being an educator. Katie doesn’t typically teach a specific course the same way twice; she is always looking to improve and learn from her experiences. As such, teaching can be such a rewarding challenge.

Learning can also include Additional Qualifications courses, reading, M.Ed programs, etc. all of which we both enjoy immensely. Rethinking and problem solving is such an important part of our roles as educators, and all of our learning can really help us to find ways to be better. We can often push ourselves a little too hard, but we find joy in all of this learning and making meaningful changes to our teaching practices.

Every time a new group of students walks into our classrooms, our courses are going to be different because each of them are different. So this learning that we do, it will help us to find ways to reach and teach each of these individuals, even if it means making changes, big or small, to the lessons we have taught in the past.

Sharing Our Learning

Another thing that brings us both joy in education is sharing our knowledge and our learning. Podcasting, presenting at conferences or staff meetings, running PD sessions, etc. are all exciting ways that we can share our learning with other educators.

As introverts, we feared presentations and sharing knowledge with others. Rachel was forced out of this during grad school, and has been slowly but surely getting comfortable with it.

To give you an idea, it took us a while to hit record for the first time, and even then, we re-recorded a number of times before we felt like we could share what we had done. But over time, we have really become quite comfortable with podcasting, and enjoy creating and publishing our content.

To top it off, podcasting has also provided us with a variety of other opportunities to share our knowledge with others: speaking at conferences, writing articles for EdCan Magazine (Starting the School Year Right and Making Effective Instructional Videos), etc. Katie used to be so nervous to speak in front of staff at meetings, or presenting PD, but podcasting and the experiences that have come about have really helped her to feel more comfortable and to embrace the chance to speak to others.

These opportunities have really become an exciting and enjoyable part of our jobs as educators.

Breaks to Decompress

While it isn’t specifically related to our jobs as educators, knowing the we have defined time periods to decompress and recover throughout the year is super helpful. It also gives us a chance to spend more time with our families, and to explore hobbies and activities that we enjoy. Education can be crazy, chaotic and stressful, so being able to have these predictable and set times to take a breath and rebuild our energy is necessary to help us enjoy our careers more.

Another form of breaks that teachers have the opportunity to take advantage of are 3-over-4 or 4-over-5 deferred leave plans. In a 3-over-4, your annual salary for 3 years is spread over 4, and the fourth year is taken as a leave. Katie has recently just applied for this type of leave, so she is nervous and uncertain about what it will look like, but having this opportunity to take a year off and pursue interests, travelling, spending time with family, etc. This opportunity most definitely brings us joy. We are grateful that our school board provides these opportunities to staff.

In-Person School Events

Commencement, music performances, drama productions, sports, etc. are all school-wide events that bring us joy as educators. Covid took these away for two years, so it has been exciting to see these return to schools as covid protocols lift, and life starts to return to a more normal routine.

It is so fun to see students interacting with one another outside of the classroom, and to see the smiles and laughter returning to these events and to the hallways. And seeing proud parents attend these events, and watch their children walk the stage, perform, and/or participate in these events makes it all worth the hard work that goes into these events.

Bitmoji of Katie and Rachel jumping, with huge smiles on their faces. They are surrounded by purple and blue stars, and a blue heart with a happy face is between them.

These are just some of the many things that bring us joy as educators. They remind us of why we went into the profession, and also why we remain. After a couple of really difficult years, we felt that it was important that we took some time to really reflect and think about what brings us joy, because it can be really difficult to stay positive or to focus on the good things when so many things are not so great.

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