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February 18, 2023 26 mins

Elisabeth Bostwick and Tisha Richmond share their why behind partnering to Spark Joy in Education along with their stories on why they are both so passionate about this topic. Their subtitle, A Magical Leap into Joyful Learning interweaves portions of Lis's book, Take the L.E.A.P.: Ignite a Culture of Innovation, and Tisha's book, Make Learning Magical: Transform Your Teaching and Create Unforgettable Experiences in Your Classroom. This episode serves as an introduction to the podcast, Spark Joy in EDU. Be on the lookout for upcoming episodes featuring guests who will share their voices! 

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Episode Transcript

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Tisha Richmond (00:01):
Welcome to the Spark Joy in EDU podcast.

Elisabeth Bostwick (00:04):
Where we take a magical leap into joyful

Tisha Richmond (00:08):
Your hosts, Elisabeth Bostwick and Tisha
Richmond will encourage you toactively cultivate joy in your
EDU journey through reflection,inspiration, and practical

Elisabeth Bostwick (00:18):
Our vision is to leverage Tisha's message

from Make Learning Magical: Transform Your Teaching and (00:20):
Create Unforgettable Experiencesin Your Classroom.
And Lis's message from Take theLEAP Ignite a Culture of
Innovation to inspire educatorsto not only seek joy in
education, but understand how wecan create our own joy, even
amidst struggles.

Tisha Richmond (00:39):
There is so much joy in education and we are
excited to highlight variousguests who will be sharing how
they cultivate joy and practicaltips and strategies for
educators to use in both theirpersonal and professional lives.

Elisabeth Bostwick (00:52):
We are so excited to be launching our
podcast and as we both grew toknow one another more through
collaboration and connection, webegan to recognize how
complimentary our work is.
Even the messages in both of ourbooks have common threads.
Both of us are incrediblypassionate about intentionally
seeking joy in life,particularly in education.

Tisha, would you just share withour listeners a little bit about
who you are and why joy is someaningful to you?

Tisha Richmond (01:22):
I'm so excited about startingthis podcast with you, Lis, and
joy has been really important tome and in my educational
I've been an educator for over25 years.
Many of those years were in thecareer and technical education
I was teaching culinary artsthat even taught some interior

And then I moved into a districtrole as a tech integration
specialist, and now a studentengagement and professional
development specialist, and thenalso am a Canva Learning
But, there was a point in myjourney of education that I had
lost my joy for teaching andlearning.

And, it was 2014.
I remember the year very well,and I was sitting in my
It was a prep period studentsweren't in the room at at the
It might have been my lunch.
And I looked at the sign that Ihad hanging by my door, and I've
had it hanging by my door for areally long time, and the sign

was a Julia Child's quote thatsaid, above all have a good
And I looked at that sign and, Igot emotional because I realized
I had this sign that was rightby the door really sending this
message to my students, thatabove all, I really wanted them

to have a good time learning.
I wanted them to find joy in thelearning process.
And, what I felt in that momentwas just sadness, because I
realized, I wasn't finding joyin the learning process.
I wasn't having a good timeteaching.
Somehow I had lost that joy, andI knew in that moment that

something needed to change.
And I wasn't really sure how itwas going to happen, but I knew
that either I needed to find joyagain in teaching or I need to
find another profession.
And I actually at that timewould go home and tell my
husband, you know, maybe Ishould be a barista.
I love coffee.
I love those lattes with likethe little, you know, beautiful

designs on top.
I live in the Pacific Northwest,so that's a really big thing out
here in Oregon and, but I knewthat that wasn't really.
What I wanted to do this was aprofession that I'd been in for
a long time and had reallyenjoyed it for so many years,
and so that year was a catalystyear for me.

It happened that our region ofculinary arts educators were
going in on a grant for iPadsfor the classroom, and this was
before one-to-one devices were athing in my district.
There were very few classes thathad one-to-one devices, but, the
culinary teachers in our regiondecided, okay, this is what we

would like to bring in to ourcurrent culinary arts classes,
and I was actually terrified.
I was going along with itbecause I thought, well, you
know, yeah, I guess this soundslike a good idea, but really the
reality was I had no idea whatlearning in a culinary arts
classroom would look like withiPads.
It was something that I wasoverwhelmed by and had no idea.

How I was gonna make it happen,how I was gonna make these
devices really used in valuableways in my classroom.
And so sure enough, we got thisgrant and we brought these iPads
into the classroom, and I'm thekind of person that when I'm
gonna bring something new in,I'm going to, I am going to do

everything I can to make itworthwhile.
I didn't want these iPads to besitting in a cart gathering dust
or being something that studentswould use to just research
I wanted them to be meaningfulin learning, but I just had no
idea how to go about it.
And so I actually looked forprofessional development.
Part of our funding was to getprofessional development on how

to use these iPads, and I wentto my very first EdTech
It was called iPad Palooza, andit was in Austin, Texas.
I went, and another teacher inmy district went with me and I
was blown away because therewere all of these innovative
ideas being shared and these newapps that you could use on the

iPad, these new ideas andstrategies that you could bring
into teaching and learning thatI just didn't know existed.
I had no exposure to them beforeand I started connecting with
people there.
I started realizing that teacherTwitter was a thing and people
were sharing their resources onTwitter, and there were these
fun little challenges and I'mlike, what is this?

I didn't even know that this wasa place that teachers connected.
And so I came back from thatconference with a little spark
of joy being, you know,reignited because I thought, oh,
maybe there's more to this.
Maybe there's some things that Ididn't know existed that I could
actually bring into myclassroom.
And that started this journey oftrying new things, taking some

risks that I've never triedbefore.
It meant that I disrupted whatmy classroom learning
environment looked like.
I had to rethink workflows.
I had to rethink everythingreally that I was doing, and, I
really stepped out of my comfortzone in a big way.

But at the same time, what I didwas I started connecting with
educators from around the world.
I started lurking on Twitter.
I started finding new people toconnect with.
I started realizing that as aneducator, I didn't need to live
in a silo and only connect andcollaborate with other culinary

I could actually connect withpeople, teachers, librarians,
counselors, people allthroughout the educational
spectrum from different parts ofthe world, share ideas, and take
some of the ideas that I waslearning about and bring them
into my classroom and make themmy own.
It wasn't going to look the sameway as what someone else was

doing somewhere else that wasteaching another subject.
But, I could still learn so muchand start really transforming
what that educational landscapelooked like in my classroom.
And it was not an instantaneouslike, return to joy.
Like it was a process for sure,but I was really saved from

leaving education in that year.
I was, could have turned outvery, very different, and I'm so
grateful that those iPadsentered my world at that time
because it really allowed me totap into new areas of education
that I just didn't know was outthere and tap into this

connected world of education andrealize that being a globally
connected educator is somethingthat is really valuable because
we can't do this thing alone.
We can't live in a silo aseducators.
And so, that's just a littleglimpse into my story and why

joy is so important to me,because really as an educator,
It was an awful feeling to feellike I was just going through
the motions and not reallyfinding joy in teaching because
I know that if I wasn't able toconnect to joy as a teacher,
that students felt that, and howcan we expect or want our kids

to be joyful learners if wecan't tap into that joy
And so it's been a process.
It's, there's no easy answers,but it's become a topic that's
really near and dear to my heartbecause of my own journey.
And, I know Lis, that we havetalked about this topic so much

and one of the reasons why wewanted to start this podcast is
because our stories so resonatewith each other.
I would love for you to share alittle bit with our listeners
about your story and what joymeans to.

Elisabeth Bostwick (09:51):
Well, thank you Tisha, and I absolutely
loved hearing your story.
I know we've hit on differentpockets of it before, so just to
hear it in full like that isjust so meaningful to me.
So thank you for sharing thatwith me and our listeners.
So I really appreciate that.
I am Lis Bostwick, I've been anelementary educator.

I taught both grades two andfour over the course of 16
And then I also worked as atechnology integration
specialist, and I do some of myown work as an innovative
teaching and learningconsultant.
And of course I am a Canvalearning Consultant just like
you, Tisha, which is how, Imean, we've been connected for
some time, but this is reallywhere we've spent so much more

time collaborating and gettingto know one another.
So, Interestingly, I neverimagined myself going into
education, tisha.
I perceived school as a place tolisten, complete assignments and
take assessments.
Now, I was an avid athlete anddancer, and of course, loved my
sports and friends, but learningdidn't always feel relevant.

Additionally, I struggled withmath and to make sense of it.
Due to that, I became a bitprotective of myself not wanting
to share out in front of mypeers.
Now, with that said, I was veryfortunate to have many teachers
who took a hands-on approach orjust, you know, understood the
importance of fosteringrelationships.
One that comes to mind actuallyis Mrs.

Eggers, and she was my secondgrade teacher.
I knew that I loved learningthrough exploration, but
experienced that more outside ofschool than within classrooms.
Now, let's fast forward to mycollege years, and I was
studying psychology.
I began making connections onhow the brain learns.
I'm a huge geek when it comes toneuroscience and optimal

I began relating the fact thatsome of my most favorite
teachers were those whounderstood the importance of
relationships, hands-onexperiences and incorporating
wonder and awe or even play intothe classroom.
I had this epiphany that perhapsteaching was exactly where I was
meant to be.
Now, like many new teachers, Iwas eager to get started.

But I quickly learned thoughthat I had to work within
I'll never forget coming homewithin those first couple of
weeks with these large math andreading program guides that I
had to use to structure mylessons.
But honestly, it just felt allwrong.
And I struggled to identify howI could teach the way I
envisioned within a structurethat expected me to use these

guides that included more thanone could ever fit realistically
into a lesson, and that wasn'tpersonalized for my learners.
Now, during these first threeyears, I had wonderful
colleagues, but at that time weall taught pretty traditionally.
I fell into this place where Itaught based on the majority of
my own schooling experiences,and I struggled to identify how

I could teach the way Ienvisioned while studying both
psychology and education.
I'm pretty sure too, that as ateam we were assigning more
homework than what wasnecessary.
Honestly, I think we were justall under the impression that
this was to help our students orprepare them for the next grade
level despite what familiescommunicated with us.
I think a lot of educators getcaught in this frame of

Now we had our first son,Julian.
He was born during my secondyear of teaching, and then in my
fourth year, our son Nolan wasborn.
With a three-year-old andnewborn at home.
My husband and I made a decisionthat I would take just some time
off for a childcare leave.
And this childcare leave endedup lasting three years.

It was a really beautiful timethat I'll never regret taking
off and, and honestly I'm justfortunate to have had that
But like you, I wasn't sure if Iwas going to return.
At the time, I had purchasedthis beautiful new Nikon camera
and I thought, Hey, I live inupstate New York, I could
absolutely get into photography.

I'm taking pictures of my ownchildren and families.
We have beautiful scenery, we'rein wine country where we have
lots of waterfalls and all ofthat.
But it was during this time thatI was actually brought back to
how magical learning can be.
I was immersed in caring for ourchildren, which meant I was also
invested in helping themexplore, discover, and really

experience the world.
In addition to caring for ourchildren, I took a deeper dive
into the psychology of learning,understanding just how our
brains make sense of the world,and I fell back in love with
education through the eyes of myown kiddos.
I also began to connect why anabundance of homework isn't
conducive to learning.
Kids need time outside of schoolfor extracurricular activities.

They need time to decompress orbe with family.
There's a lot of research onthis topic, and of course that's
a whole other conversation foranother time.
Anyhow, when I returned to theclassroom after that leave, I
had greater confidence and abetter understanding of how I
would facilitate my ownclassroom.
I worked with amazing teams ofeducators and we collaboratively

created improved experiences forlearners and their families too.
Now, it wasn't too long afterthis that I also attended my
first conference, which was heldin Atlanta, Georgia, and it was
the Model Schools conferencethrough ICLE at the time.
I had the opportunity to learnfrom Jimmy Casas, Eric
Sheninger, and Sherry St.

And I remember at the time Ericwas known for tapping into
social media to connect witheducators and share about the
amazing work at his school.
He also introduced me to theconcept of makerspace through
his librarian, Laura Fleming,who was doing amazing work at
that time in New Jersey, and sheactually published a book on
Maker education.

Throughout this experience, Imyself became a connected
educator and I learned that Icould even apply for
opportunities for iPads in myclassroom and I was granted
Now some might think, what areyou going to do with five iPads?
Well, you better believe it.
We were creative in how weleverage them.
At that time, we were doingtruly amazing work that I was

just completely re-energizedabout Our district brought in
PBL works, formerly known as theBuck Institute, and I worked
with a team to secure a$45,000grant for Maker Spaces that
would be created in three of ourschools.
This was truly an exciting timeas I had the opportunity to work
alongside other passionateeducators to connect the dots on

how we incorporate ourcurriculum and use programs in
creative ways where we couldalso leverage project-based
learning, makerspace and ofcourse incorporate greater
student voice and choice.
See, through these experiences,I learned that education can be
And I'll tell you, Tisha, it waslike the perfect storm of

feeling like I was creating thejoy that I had imagined back as
a young 20 year old and what Iwanted to make happen in
Was it perfect?
Absolutely not.
Did we still have like mandatedblocks of times?
We still had to do like 90minutes ELA, and 60 minutes of
However, what we learned is thatthere are creative ways we can

work within those constraintsand I think that's what it's all
Education, the bottom line isit's never going to be easy.
However, it's whatever we wantto make of it, and we can find
joy and sometimes it might meanthat we have to be creative.

Tisha Richmond (17:16):
I love hearing your story, Lis, and so much
what you said resonated aspieces that I hadn't heard you
share before really resonatedeven, just talking about your
school experience, because I hada really difficult school
experience too, growing up inthe public school system and

really struggling to feel like Iwas smart and really struggling
with various subject areas,especially math.
That was always a really hardsubject area for me.
And, I think it's justinteresting as we go through
life how all of these differentthings that we experience, you
know, just kind of shape ourstories and who we are.

Elisabeth Bostwick (17:59):
I love that, Tisha.
In fact, recently I waslistening to the Joy Lab podcast
hosted by Dr.
Henry Emms and Dr.
Aimee Prasek and in theirpodcast, which is focusing on
the science of joy, theydiscussed the fact that it's
possible to feel joy even amidstdealing with any problem, and

that ultimately joy is not justan emotion, and it's not the
opposite of depression.
It's actually different fromhappiness and runs deeper than
any feeling.
And they explain that it's alsoa state of being and that joy
can be accessed anytime andanywhere.
And so if a teacher were to cometo you and say, Tisha, amidst

your crazy days when they'rereally busy and you have a lot
of things going on.
When you might feel at the peakof overwhelm, what are some
strategies you turn to to justrecenter yourself and reclaim

Tisha Richmond (18:59):
Oh my goodness, I love this so much, and we are
gonna have to have a wholeepisode on just what you shared.
I think that that is so, sopowerful.
You know, I think there are alot of different things that I
turn to when I just need torecenter.
I think for one, I really noticethat if I'm not consistent with
some type of an exerciseroutine, that stress manifests

in crazy ways like I'll breakout like in hives or I just feel
anxious inside.
And so trying to make sure thatthat consistent exercise routine
is part of my life and it iseasier said than done.
I'm telling you, like right nowwith traveling so much, it's
been really hard to stayconsistent and I feel it, like I

just feel that like tightnessand anxiety and so really
finding ways to make sure thatthat is being brought into my
I think sometimes I just want aday alone, like if I can have a
Saturday, even, it doesn't haveto be an entire day if I can
just take some time and go to myneighboring town and just spend

a couple hours at my favoritecoffee shop and just window
shopping or just sitting in thepark by myself.
Like sometimes that is just whatI need to decompress and just
have some time with my ownthoughts and my own ideas.
That is really helpful too.
And sometimes calling up afriend that I haven't talked to

in a while and asking if theywant to go to coffee and just
being able to have thatdialogue.
Sometimes it's going to dinnerwith my husband.
That is our connection point, iseating.
So when we want to come togetherand connect, it's usually around
And so we will just go eat andwe can share, and I'm able to
share the things that arehappening in my day and he's

able to share.
And, just releasing that andgetting to chat is also helpful.
And so, I think that sometimesthe strategies we choose are
going to change based on what weknow just intuitively, what
maybe that strategy is that weneed to pull in that moment.
Sometimes it's solitude,sometimes it's a friend,

sometimes it's exercise.
But I think it's reallyimportant to kind of have those
banks of strategies that we useto help us recenter.
What about you, Lis?
What are some things that youdo?

Elisabeth Bostwick (21:29):
Well, first off, I do quite a few of the
things that you had mentioned,and I think you hit the nail on
the head that it really dependson our own emotional wellbeing,
where we're at, and what's goingon, because there are some times
I do some of the things that youshared and then, there are other
times that there is somethingdifferent that I need.
For example, sometimes one thingthat will help me recenter and

some people might not think thatthis is bringing you joy, but
something for me is just feelinglike I've got time where I've
organized all of my to-dos,where I feel like I have
everything in order, so at leastI know what to tackle.
There's something that brings acalming sense over me when I'm
like, okay, I have a plan ofattack, so to speak, so that I

know how to move forward.
Sometimes just getting thatchecklist and everything down,
even if I don't begin addressinganything yet, is enough for me
to feel a little bit morecentered.

Tisha Richmond (22:25):

Elisabeth Bostwick (22:26):
And so, yeah, and so sometimes it's
simply writing down andprioritizing my to-do, but then
next I either turn to exerciseor going outside.
And going outside might be inthe backyard on a dark cold
night in New York with my dogsand just letting them play, but
also just taking in the natureand then other times it might be

me going on a walk with myhusband or a walk with the dogs.
But there's something to meabout being in nature too, that
really does bring me joy.
So I just think it's all aboutfinding what your own need is in
that time.
And for me it's also justreminding myself of what I'm
grateful for, just taking noticeof things around me.
That can also bring me back tothat feeling of joy and

appreciation for just life ingeneral.

Tisha Richmond (23:13):
So true.
I so resonate with that.
Just making lists and being ableto kind of write down what needs
to be done.
I've gone through a milliondifferent ways of organizing my
to-do lists and my my agendaplan or day plan or whatever you
might wanna call it.
And I've found that when I getinto a routine with that and

carve out time, like in themorning to look at my list from
yesterday, rewrite my list fortoday, and I have some type of a
process for that, I just feel mys my anxiety releasing and being
able to cross those things off.
I've moved to just a, I've donedigital, I've done you know,
actual pen and paper.

And I find that just crossing itoff with a pen is brings me joy
you know, to say I've got thataccomplished.
It's, it's just great.
And then I love what you sayabout really I don't know.
I call them those magicalmoments, just like really just
really taking in.

Whatever experience that you'rein, whatever moment experience
you are in, just really taking,that in and finding the magic
in those moments and reallyappreciating and finding
gratitude in those moments, andsometimes in the hustle and
bustle and the hurry, we're justtrying to cross off the things
off the list.
And sometimes we don't just taketime to appreciate or savor

those moments that we are in.
And, I was just actually talkingto a lady today and she was
talking about just that herdaughter's two years old and she
was saying how it's so hardsometimes with working and being
a mom of a young kid becauseyou're just trying to do it all.
And she says, sometimes whenthat when my kid wants to take a

picture, I'm on the way out thedoor late to work.
She just has to stop and say,yes, we're going to take that
picture because those momentsare so important.

Elisabeth Bostwick (25:09):
Yeah, and I think that goes back to being
present, right?
Like being present and embracingthose moments.
And, and sometimes that can feelhard, as much as it's also very
rewarding when we have a lot ofthings going on.
So I think it's important for usto every day be thinking about,
Just being mindful of what arethose things that bring us joy
in the end and spacing thingsout so that it meets our needs

and it looks different foreverybody.
And, I think that's why I'm justso excited about this podcast
and being able to feature avariety of voices and just
really hearing from alldifferent individuals in the
field of education on how dothey bring joy to themselves, to
their students, to their staff,and anybody else.
They may be connected with.

Tisha Richmond (25:52):
I couldn't agree with you more, Lis, this is
going to be an amazingadventure.
I cannot wait.

Elisabeth Bostwick (25:58):
Thank you for listening to the Spark Joy
in edu podcast.
We hope that you enjoyed thisepisode.

Tisha Richmond (26:04):
Check the show notes to connect with Lis and
Tisha using their social handlesand visiting their individual
We would love for you to shareout your reflections using
hashtag#SparkJoyEDU and be sureto click subscribe.
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