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I don’t know if you have noticed on Apple News, but there are a lot of articles out there that are actually lists for us to live by, or so says Apple. I know that I will be giving away some of my browning history, but here are some that I have seen recently:

            11 ways to maximize a small space – sponsored by Ikea
            31 of the best kitchen tools for 2021 – sponsored by Amazon
            17 Must have cleaning tools – again, Amazon
            The 9 top recipes of 2020 – sponsored by Southern Living

For each item on the list, a link is readily available for you to purchase the item so it too can be yours. I love to read those ists, not because I buy anything, but I love to laugh at the crazy items out there. It’s a bit of comic relief. In that vein, I thought I would try to formulate a list for school leaders, including teachers and staff who are key leaders at our schools,  about ways to have fun on the job.This is a very short list, so I hope that many of you will add to this list. We need to experience the joy in the journey of each day, so let’s help each other do that.

  1. Make someone’s day. The easiest way to do this is a short email to say thank you or give a shoutout. Better yet, pop by a classroom or office and do that in person. Even better, find out a treat that makes them happy-flowers? M&M’s? Favorite coffee? Really, many times just a small compliment-”great shoes”-can bring a smile to someone.
  2. Eat lunch with students. This is a practice that I began in my first year teaching middle school. I asked one student to invite 4 others to have lunch together with me, my treat. Thank goodness for middle schoolers’ love of pizza. I had one rule – no talk of school. The purpose was to get to know each other personally. This can be done with grown ups, too. Team members, peers, parents. A short meal to build relationships goes a long way in filling everyone’s bucket (and belly).
  3. Read to a class.
  4. Make a guest appearance in band, choir, orchestra, drama.
  5. Visit an art class and paint with the class.
  6. Hold a trivia contest via email with teachers and staff. Correct answers get put into a hat and winners are chosen for fabulous prizes.
  7. Teach a class. This connects you with students AND gives the teacher a little break in the action.
  8. Lead chapel or a small group.
  9. Play at recess. During my first year teaching, I had a student who struggled in math but would not stay for extra help. It was more of an effort problem than an ability problem.  I challenged him to a game of horse one recess. His prize? I would get in the dunk tank at the upcoming field day. My prize? He would stay a couple days after school to work on math. Well, let’s just say that he mastered math that year. The whole class loved the fun of the competition.
  10. Pray with others. As you see or hear a need or praise, take the time to bring that to the feet of Jesus together. As Christian leaders, there is no better way to actively honor and bless God in this way. Doing this with our teams, our peers, our students reminds us that Christ is at the center of what we do and why we do it. It puts our words into action.

Ecclesiastes 8:15 (NLT)So I recommend having fun, because there is nothing better for people in this world than to eat, drink, and enjoy life. That way they will experience some happiness along with all the hard work God gives them under the sun.”

Author Jenn Thompson

Jennifer Thompson has served in Christian education for almost twenty-five years in various roles from basketball coach to science teacher, elementary principal to head of school at schools in both Florida and California. A native of Vermont, Jenn has an undergraduate degree in Sociology from Wheaton College and a master’s in science in Educational Leadership from Florida International University. She completed the Fellows program at the Van Lunen Center for Executive Management in Christian Schools at Calvin University and currently serves on the Council for American Private Education (CAPE) board. Jenn is the chief executive officer of Christian Schools International.

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