Habit #5: Do hard things with peace and joy
As we wrap up our series on the 5 Habits of Highly-Effective Co-Teachers, we’re turning today to two small words that can have a huge impact during this season: peace and joy.
Sure, you’ve heard them before, but you might be experiencing them this season with a new perspective. Virtually every facet of life is requiring just a little more of us than they used to during this time of social distancing, and all that comes with it. If going to the grocery store is now a difficult task, adding full-time homeschool on top of it seems pretty impossible on some days.
So it might surprise you to see that “peace and joy” are habits of a highly-effective co-teacher. But trust us here – it pays off in the long run.
A hallmark of Classical education, as we employ at Austin Classical School, is the idea of character formation. The concept that rather than simply mastering skills (which they are bound to do), students are also working on the longer-term goal of becoming a thriving member of society. A person of character not just when they graduate at 18, but when they are 38, 58, 78, etc. Classical education has a longer view of the student and shapes their education accordingly.
Part of this character formation is learning to do hard things. Hard things are a part of life (hello quarantine!). And when we, as co-teachers and parents, can model the ability to tackle those hard things with peace and joy, we are setting our students up for success later on in life. They will encounter those hard things outside of the confines of their home or their school, so why not start practicing that for that now, when they are surrounded by people who are for them.
Learning to approach a difficult task, like addition with re-grouping, a new level of Latin, or a challenging piece of literature, is not only just about gaining mastery of that particular skill. It is about gaining that skill and coupling it with character traits that will serve them for years to come: fortitude and temperance, for example.
We have a saying at ACS: Mustangs do hard things. It’s not that we’re pessimistic. We are actually filled with hope. Hope that the hard ground that is being plowed now will yield an abundance of fruit later.
Modeling peace and joy while you, the co-teacher, tackle hard things shows your student that this is a truth that runs deeply, not merely a high standard you’re holding them to during math lessons or verb conjugations.
- Model peace when your student can’t seem to stay focused.
- Model joy as you see a new concept start to take hold in their mind.
- Model peace when your littles can’t seem to nap long enough for you to finish a conference call, and joy when they want to join in the homeschooling fun.
- Model peace when you need to take a break and walk away when things just aren’t going well.
Seeing you do this over and over again, even when it’s incredibly difficult, teaches them little by little that they can use peace and joy to navigate the ups and downs of life.
As a Christ-centered school, we take the Word of God seriously and try to infuse each and every area of our instruction with it. Each semester, the entire school memorizes a passage of scripture together. Who knew that when we started on James 1 in January, it would come so fully to life just a few short weeks later.
Will trials come? Absolutely. There are days when peace and joy will seem a million miles away. On those days, cast your burdens onto the One who can truly give you rest for your soul.
Disclaimer: We promise that this is something that we tell our co-teachers each and every year. But this year, it has taken on a whole new meaning in light of a global pandemic. As parents, we have the opportunity to model peace and joy in the midst of uncertainty each and every day in this season. And we pray that this season, despite its challenges, is one with a few blessings sprinkled in.