Meet Our Third High 5 Winner, Caroline S.
Elementary School Principal
Teacher Peach is pleased to present the third winner of Teacher Peach’s “Granting Teacher Goals!” High 5 Initiative, Caroline S.!
Caroline S. teaches her 2nd-4th grade students the importance of empathy with The Great Kindness Challenge! In an effort to banish bullying and create a positive school culture, Caroline and her terrific teach-mates have initiated a kindness movement. Students become engaged with activities such as creating kindness kits, fliers, posters, and decorating classroom doors. Their kindness kits include thank-you cards, decorated heart shapes, painted posters, etc. all created by students. This project goes beyond the classroom as students deliver their kindness kits to community service groups including the local police and fire department, the Mayor’s office, and more!
Our revered judge, LeeAndra Khan, explains why The Great Kindness Challenge is such an important addition to the High 5 winning initiatives. “Schools should aim to educate the whole student. Having students exercise their voices to prevent bullying is a great step toward promoting empathy and tolerance. Students gain leadership skills and also learn the importance of collaboration. Adding the community engagement piece to the project helps students to understand their role in the larger community.”
Caroline Says . . .
We had the privilege of interviewing Caroline about her experiences in education and her goals for her project. Here’s what she had to say . . .
TP: How long have you been teaching?
CS: I have been a teacher for 19 years and an administrator for 5 years. I am truly a teacher at heart! I love teaching students and teachers, and even teach night classes at a local college.
TP: Why did you become a teacher?
CS: I feel like I was born to teach. I have always been involved with kids—babysitting, religious school, and tutoring. I knew I could make a difference and would enjoy a career in teaching.
TP: What are the most inspiring aspects of teaching for you?
CS: The most inspiring aspects of teaching are the “light-bulb moments” I see when a child finally catches on to a certain skill or strategy. Students show their appreciation with hugs and I love you’s. This keeps me striving to be the best I can be for kids.
TP: How do you think this project will impact your students and what outcomes are you hoping to achieve?
CS: The Great Kindness Challenge has always been a very successful week of creating a culture of kindness [in our school]. I notice a decline in discipline referrals because students focus on being kind to one another. This positive bullying prevention initiative is powerful as students have an opportunity each day to expand their compassion and learn about about other cultures and needs throughout the world. There’s a huge impact on our community as local law enforcement officers, fire fighters, mental health providers, the town mayor, and many others come to school on Monday morning to help us kick off the great kindness challenge. Kindness quotes, kindness stations, lunch buddies, and a service project are just a few of the exciting activities that students participate in during the week. We’re excited for next time.
TP: What advice would you have for other teachers?
CS: Teaching is an incredibly complex endeavor. No one has it nailed. There are always ways to get better for students. I would remind teachers that whoever is doing the reading, writing, and talking is doing the thinking. Learning is a consequence of thinking. Teachers should provide time everyday for students to read, write, and discuss their thinking. We are smarter together. We need to collaborate with our colleagues and our students. Focus on relationships. You will get so much more from your students if they know you love them.
Inspired by Caroline?
Teacher Peach is proud to help Caroline continue to bring The Great Kindness Challenge to her students and community. This educational project not only encourages students to become a ‘buddy not a bully’, it also encourages them to share the good will with others! In addition to the $100 award, Teacher Peach is also sharing some awesome products with Caroline and her students.
Check out just a few of these Teacher Peach products Caroline will use to help her students ‘catch some kindness’!
Take a Peek!
Caroline was kind enough to share a recent The Great Kindness Challenge with us in these beautiful photos!
What ideas does Caroline’s project spark for you? How could you create or adapt a project like this for your students? What spaces surround your classroom that could be enlivened by the creativity of your kids?