Finding joy in your work featuring Dr. Joy

Hello friends and welcome to another episode the edumagic podcast. My name is Dr. Sam Fecich and I am so excited today to have with me Dr. Joy.  You may have seen her work on Twitter or maybe you've checked out her work with edumatch she is an amazing educational leader who's going to share the power of owning your joy.



Tell us about your teaching story, where your journey has led you and where you where you are today in education?
  • I always love to learn as a student.

  • I loved every part of the school and so learning was just something I love to do.

  • But I think the spot for teaching came for me when I was in high school and I had this job as a playground instructor. There are different playgrounds around the city, in our neighborhoods, and during the summer we had groups of kids and we just spend the day with them. It was like a camp and we taught them dances and we had a big,  fair at the end and we did lessons with them and it was just neat.

  • The learning you get is so different from what you like at the experience.  I loved college and the experience, but I wasn't sure that that passion for teaching was evident during that time. But when I started doing my student teaching was when like reality hit is when I really saw myself as a teacher because I was there doing it. I got to see all the different layers of Education and so that is when it became a reality.

  •  I had an amazing experience as a student-teacher because the college I went to Norfolk State. They had this program where you can complete your student teaching overseas in a DoD school. So, I had a chance to do my student teaching in Germany at one of the bases and traveling through, so I had just such an amazing experience.

  • I became an elementary teacher. I served as a professional learning specialist and a school administrator, and currently, I work in higher education, so that's kind of like 20 years.

  • Now I am in higher education


I love that story. I love how it started off, with your student teaching experience. Being impactful. working at a DoD school, being an educator, moving into administration, moving into higher education. That is quite the journey and lots of different stops along the way throughout your educational journey. It shows the power of being a lifelong learner.


Now Doctor Joy, I know there's a story behind your name, so I'd love for you to first share the story behind doctor Joy and the story behind why. Why did you choose the word joy?
  • When I left the classroom and I transitioned into a role that professional learning specialist. I remember thinking like schools need joy.

  •  I had a chance to see schools from like the outside view. I was no longer inside of my classroom so I was able to visit.

  •  I would remember thinking man schools need joy and when I was a little girl my dad used to call me Joy and I did not like it. 

  •  I think I'm going to promote this joy thing and talk about joy and how important it is and get people to be joyful you know and I'm gonna call myself back to it.

  • I had realized though, even though it was just an idea we were talking about and it connected to that name that my parents gave me. I also realized that throughout my entire life, both personally and professionally, I've been empowered with joy. 


I love how you embrace the nickname that your dad gave you at a young age and you've just incorporated this joyfulness throughout your career.  I think it's so inspiring to hear that and I know as future teachers you were talking about; you know in your college career like.


Why is it important for our future teachers who are listening today?
  • Well, because you have a lot of challenges that you're going to face.

  • When I was in school I really didn't understand like the depth of some of the challenges that I was gonna face as an educator

  • Just the idea of balancing my personal professional life and just the whole dynamic of teaching and building relationships and trying to get everything done within the course of a day.

  • I did not realize how many challenges I was actually going to face as a teacher.

  • You don't talk about that. But then we do talk about it, but then we don't talk about how we can confront these challenges in a healthy way. I realized that, as in throughout my career as an educator, I kind of went through this lens that all these challenges from the outside, if they would just fix themselves, I would feel better.

  • But then I realized that it was me that I had to fix. It was my personal joy that I was responsible for my joy and I didn't matter how many accomplishments that I met or had how many I could activate? How many potlucks? How many free jeans days? How many you know the coupon, whatever the outside.

  • Then I really couldn't give kids do it or bring joy to others if I couldn't even capture it myself.



Doctor Joy how can we work to capture that joy to find that within ourselves?
  • There's something I read about not too long ago called the broaden and build theory and it's this idea that we practice these different. We will use these different tools and we practice these different routines.

  • It's not always going to be comfortable at first so that when we when challenges arise, it's like we built our resilience to respond in a positive manner. It's not saying that sometimes being positive feels awkward, especially when you don't feel it's like you want to be positive, but when you intentionally.

  • Put things into practice and you work at it and you work at it.

  • When those big challenges really occur, you find out that you look at things from a whole different perspective because eventually, you start practicing those things naturally. 

  • It's working on those areas that you feel those virtues that you feel like you want to have that will add to your joy without really working on those intentionally.

  • As educators, self-care is something that I struggled with so much because oftentimes we try to go with the flow of our organizations.

  • Some of their practices or may not be in harmony with our self care needs. You can't forget about yourself. It can be a simple thing as having lunch for 30 minutes by yourself in your classroom. You may need that to get through the day, but maybe everybody else is working through their lunch. But you may really need that.

  • Sometimes you can't just go with the flow. You must create self care that is in harmony with your needs, not with the needs of everyone else. So those are the two things I'll say that is important.


When we talk about self care, I think that's an important routine to get into as future teachers. 'cause I, I really think that as future teachers is so easy to say, yes to everything, volunteer for all the things, and kind of put yourself on the back burner. It's important to put yourself first and take care of yourself. I mean we've all heard that phrase You can't pour from an empty cup and it is so true. tart getting into that as a future educator, I think it will help propel you into your first year teaching.

You know there will be a lot of distractions everywhere, and you have to kind of find a way to reduce some of the things that are distractions, and they're not supporting you as an individual both professionally and personally.


I'd love for you to take some time to share about the work that you're doing. You have a podcast; you have other work out there. Can you share about your work and where we can find it?
  • So right now I'm really trying to build a joyful community. I really am wanting to just have sort of like a League of educators.

  • People want to support this joy work and so my website https://drjoyblog.com/ you can go up there and find different ways to engage with the community. 

  • Twitter:  https://twitter.com/joyworkedu

  • I wrote a book recently called "Back to zero”, which is a children's book, and that talks about kind of like how we get through challenges and so that's another thing that we must remember that joy is not the opposite challenges. A lot of my work, which is why it's called joy work. 

  • I capture stories from different educators and just talk about lessons, I've learned regarding the importance of joy.

What's one piece of advice that you have for future teachers as they start to look for their joy or just in general?
  • I just want to emphasize creativity and maintain self-care routines that are in harmony with your life.

  • You know that is the most important thing you must learn yourself as an educator.

  • You'll hear a lot of times you may hear like this is the way we do it. This is the way it's done. You can't be afraid to kind of build yourself as an educator. You want to have a long, beautiful career with many opportunities. Annual have different experiences, so you must create your pack. There's no one way to do this.

  • We're always learning as educators, so keep learning. Keep just finding ways to grow in and just, you know, be you.

  • You must bring yourself to the classroom. That's the only way that you can love what you do, and children need teachers that love what they do.


All right friends, thank you so much for your time today. Remember you have the joy and the edumagic within you! 

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