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What’s Bringing You Joy?

May 27, 2020 | Melissa McCallihan

Around the Mustard Seed Community there has been a common question asked, “what’s bringing you joy right now?” Families, teachers and others have sent videos or written about this ever since we’ve moved from in school learning to distance learning. I asked the students of Brave Cohort this question as a part of an assignment called Virtual Learning Portraits.

One weekend I was absentmindedly scrolling through Instagram when a post made me pause. The question of what’s bringing you joy right now was answered with a picture. In this picture a person is surrounded by the things that are helping them through and bringing joy during this time in their lives. Here’s mine:

I knew we needed to do this as a class.  During class meetings there are times when students talk about what they are missing and how they wish things could be different. They responded to the assignment with well composed portraits and heartfelt explanations of the things in their picture. Here are four examples.

“…my ukulele which I play when I can’t describe important feelings”.

The things in this picture are stuff that got me through this pandemic.”

I have to be honest, quarantine has not been the most enjoyable for me. I love seeing my friends and family, I love going to new places, and I love going to school. Now, all of these things are out of the picture. Above, are the things keeping me somewhat sane during these scary, hard, and unknown times.”

“Right now, in this time of Distance Learning, it’s really easy to think “I wish…” or “I hope…” But in this time of unknown, there are things that bring me joy, and cheer me up. Some of the things that bring me joy are, Board Games, Books, Zoom, My Computer, Baseball, Tennis, Soccer, Bike and Scooter Rides, Daily Family Meetings/Prayers, Treats, Jokes, Boy Scouts and My Family. We should be grateful for what we have, not sad. We are lucky to have technology to connect us to others. Most of all, we have each other. “

I think Baxter sums it up beautifully. We have each other. Something that has definitely gotten me through this crazy, unprecedented school year!


Melissa McCallihan

Teacher, Grade 6; Science Grades 6-8

Teaching children to take risks and fail well is important to Melissa McCallihan, who has taught for over 30 years. She believes children learn as much through their failures as they do through their successes. She celebrates both in her classroom. In collaboration with the middle school director, art teacher, and other fourth and fifth grade teachers, Mrs. McCallihan has been instrumental in developing the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) program, an extension of the Lower School’s Shared Space model. “STEAM is where students solve problems and sometimes get it wrong,” says Mrs. McCallihan when asked about risks and failing well. “Students need to learn how to do that with grace, and to try again with grit and determination.” Mrs. McCallihan currently teaches sixth through eighth grade science.

Mrs. McCallihan cares deeply about relationships with her colleagues, students, and families. She works hard to make and maintain connections on a personal and professional level. And follows the mantra “Worship God, Love All.”

When not at school, you can find Mrs. McCallihan searching out a fantastic restaurant or hidden sight to see in New York City.

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