All staff members are invited to attend the first-ever divisionwide Joy Fair taking place Wednesday, Feb. 22 from 5-7 p.m. at College Park Elementary School. Complete with activities such as yoga, gratitude stations, opportunities for attendees to share snippets of small joys happening in their lives, photo booths with joyful scenes, self-care stations and food, the Joy Fair will also feature sessions where attendees can learn how the division’s 150 Joy Ambassadors representing 86 schools are incorporating joy in their buildings and classrooms as well with their colleagues.
Some stations will feature data supporting that the joy movement is making a difference not only with teachers’ well-being but in the student learning environment.
School counselors who are Joy Ambassadors will share how they are reducing testing anxiety for students. At another station, teachers who are Joy Ambassadors will share how they are incorporating student voice, which spurred “Kindness Matters” movements at their schools.
“It truly is a fair because if you think of a fair or carnival, you do not have to stay the whole time because we honor your time,” said Akilah Ellison, initiator of the joy movement and professional learning specialist in the Office of Professional Growth and Innovation, which is co-hosting the event with all of the Joy Ambassadors.
“Everybody is invited. You can stop by for five or 10 minutes; leave and come back; or stay for the two hours. We want everyone to just get a taste of joy and leave feeling good and dreaming big,” Ellison added. “The Joy Fair is about joyful learning culture. How do you make it happen? How do you personalize it for your school culture? Our goal is to have teachers, principals, staff, office associates, custodians, cafeteria staff—everyone in a school building embracing joy.”
Bringing joy not only addresses Compass to 2020 Goal 4, which focuses on improving working conditions and fostering a culture of respect among all staff. It also was purposefully planned for February, which according to Ellison, a former teacher, is right before the “dip” that she describes as the time when teacher stress increases because of upcoming testing season and the beginning of the second half of the school year.
“Teachers are feeling it and it affects well-being,” she added. “A lot of teachers start staying after school holding more session so that means they are starting to reduce the number of things that bring them personal balance and joy. They might skip exercise or lunch. They might not be as hydrated because they are so busy they forget to drink plenty of water. They start seeing less of their families. The list goes on. It starts piling on and they are now teachers teaching from empty vessels.”
The Joy Fair will also provide an opportunity for interested individuals who would like to become joy ambassadors at their school to preview the movement and leave their names for Ellison to contact them.Tell your friends! Follow us!