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Approach My Wednesday as Ritual- Suleika Jaouad

I was listening to an interview with Suleika Juoaud, best selling author and journalist- and wife of Jon Batiste. She was asked what she does on the middle days, the ones between the “exclamation points of life”.

Suleika Juoaud is a force of immense and insanely varied talent, from musician to author to journalist to speaker to thought-provoker. From Juilliard to Princeton to Bennington College to cancer-battler at 22, she has built quite a story of survival and perspective.

In this interview with Hoda Kotb, Ms. Juoaud describes her take on those middle days, between the events of life. She approaches her Wednesdays as ritual- noting the beauty of the space, the joy of the regular day, “really trying to kind of slow down and savor that because it’s so easy to move from one exclamation point to the next”.

Those middle days are the meat of what we do as teachers. There are some lessons that sparkle, some days filled with “big” activities.

Most of our days in the classroom are middle days, times to be sure we know the conjugations, ensure we can make 100 using mental math, collaborate to find a theme and perspective.

Middle days are also the days when you might just make the comment that lifts a student. A middle day will likely be the day you happen to say something that really clicks. Those middle days are the days when you earn your keep. The smallest comment or impromptu lesson might be the one that sticks- the one that students will later refer to or relay at dinner.

Those small moments are the moments that make a difference.

When you’re struggling to create the next lesson, try to step back and notice the beauty of what you do every day. You are in a job where you might absolutely make someone’s day, lift a human when they need it, make a tiny chunk of the world better for a shared chuckle or a moment of forgiveness and understanding.

There is so much routine to teaching, from day to day, year to year. When we see that routine as ritual, take a moment to be awed by kids wanting to learn from us, a moment to be impressed by one student reaching out to another, a moment to see the gratitude that in your space, the students can be confident and relaxed- when we can step back and see the incredible fortune of having the opportunity to lift every day, we can be grateful to our selves and to the potential of our profession.

Thank you for the reminder, Ms. Juoaud. And cheers to you, fellow educators. The ritual of your work is a thing of beauty- even more so when we stop and breathe it in.

If you’d like to keep being inspired by Ms. Juoaud- some links

“American Symphony” -Netflix Documentary recently released, documenting Ms. Juoaud’s and Mr. Batiste’s recent accolades coupled with news of cancer return

Link to Conversation Between Ms. Juoaud and Mr. Batiste

Between Two Kingdoms , her New York Times best seller

KonMari interview with Ms. Juoaud– on “Embracing the Mess”

Collection of Interviews and Speeches from Ms. Juoaud’s Website

Link to Archive of Life, Interrupted, Ms. Juoaud’s Emmy Winning Column in the New York Times

Link to a Number of Ms. Juoaud’s Essays

Isolation Journals– Ms. Juoaud’s site with goal of “transforming isolation into creative solitude and connection”

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