Thursday, November 24, 2011


A teacher came skipping down the hall recently to say she was rejoicing about some superior work her students had done, and for some reason it started me wondering about the “re-“ part of the word, and whether the simple word “joicing” exists, and whether I should sometimes, instead of re-joicing, simply do some joicing about my students’ work. In a literal sense, re-joicing means doing it over and over again, as though it’s become customary and expected, whereas joicing might mean it’s a first -- a fresh release of enthusiasm, a mint-condition kind of praise and appreciation. When you joice over something, perhaps it’s as if you’re cheering in a totally revitalizing way, like a breeze blowing among branches as never before. I’ve frequently felt a surprising sense of newness in my classes, as though something totally new was being born before my eyes, and surely that’s an occasion for joicing – for silently shouting approval in a rosy-cheeked way. Whether it’s a boy bringing his bright insights to a conversation about a story, or a girl giving us the gift of her unprocessed wisdom about a poet’s work, or someone complimenting a classmate for clearing up obscurities of one sort or another, or just a shy student suddenly awakening us with her cautious but impressive thoughts, there’s always a time, now and then, for some earnest joicing. I guess what I mean is, there’s always a time for finding newness and uniqueness in my classroom, and thus a time to joice, and then perhaps re-joice.

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