This week, on November 13th, the world acknowledges kindness with World Kindness Day. Kindness is truly a perfect fit for teachers. Teachers do such amazingly kind things with and for kids every single day. This awareness sparked a question: How can we show kindness TO such incredibly kind teachers?
Teachers are among the kindest and most caring individuals. A teacher can inspire a child to find confidence he didn’t know he had or somehow make even the wrong answer exactly right to have been said by a child who hadn’t felt secure enough to raise her hand before. Teachers are typically “Kind-by-Nature” nurturers who don’t need a designated day to practice being kind or even to motivate students to perform acts of kindness. For many teachers, kindness is simply at the heart of their personal classroom curricula. So, instead, we offer three kindness strategies for teachers to consider.
- Four Special Books About Kindness
While teachers definitely have the “kindness gene,” they don’t always have the kind of time they’d like to weave in quick kindness stories or life lessons. Here are four wonderful books on kindness, sure to inspire teachers and kids. Easily categorized as Kindness Classics, these are books you can read and re-read all year long.
Each Kindness , written by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by E. B. Lewis, and published by Nancy Paulsen Books, is a Jane Addams Award winner and delivers a special and meaningful anti-bullying message that sticks with readers.
Random Acts of Kindness by The Editors of Conari Press, is a treasure trove of stories to inspire students and teachers to recognize that even tiny shards of kindness can be significant gifts to others. Often credited with sparking the kindness movement, this book is rich with quotations sure to motivate any reader. Reading a small section aloud is a great way to open or close each week.
Kindness is Cooler, Mrs. Ruler, written by Margery Cuyler, illustrated by Sachiko Yoshikawa, and published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, is a fun, quick read that sends the message to even little listeners that kindness is, indeed, cool.
The last title is called Chicken Soup for the Soul: Teacher Tales, 101 Inspirational Stories from Great Teachers and Appreciative Students by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, and Amy Newmark. This collection captures reflections from many viewpoints, providing a long-lasting message that kindness comes in different ways, at different times, and sometimes from those whom one least expects.
- To Thine Own Self Be Kind
The second kindness teacher strategy is not nearly so tangible as the first. Many teachers seem to perform endless acts of kindness for students, families of students, and peers. The seasoned teacher who offers a transformative teaching tip to a recent graduate is kind. So is the teacher who anonymously fills a Lost and Found backpack with food to be sure kids eat over the weekend. Teachers are universally kind to others in a seemingly instinctive manner.
Many teachers do have one person to whom they find it more difficult to be kind. You guessed it—teachers have a tougher time practicing “self-kindness.” Teachers typically put others first and themselves last. On this World Kindness Day, we offer three ways teachers can treat themselves more kindly.
Reverse That Golden Rule—Find That Silver Lining: Do unto yourself as you do for others—even if it is only once a week and even if it is only a very tiny act of kindness. It might be as simple as resetting the snooze alarm, splurging for that frozen yogurt, or simply indulging in a cup of tea while exploring Pinterest for 20 minutes. Even small gestures will help form a habit of being kind to oneself. Think of self-kindness as an oxygen mask. By taking kind care of yourself, you’ll have more reserve to be even more kind to those around you.
Take Five to Be Kind: Most teachers willingly make five minutes for others—without blinking. Make just five minutes to accomplish something—just for yourself. What about getting down that box of warm sweaters? How would it feel to dig out the shoe polish and fix that bothersome scuff or to hang that picture still leaning against the wall? How much better might you feel after even a quick walk around the block? When a few small acts of self-kindness help you feel more on top of your personal world, both you and your students benefit.
The Peer Pair—I Will If You Will: For some teachers, it’s just too big a leap to suddenly turn their kindness filters inward. Pairing up with a peer to do something together can help pave the way. Maybe you both get tickets for a show. Perhaps you pack two lunches one day and your colleague packs two the next day, giving you each a night off from lunch-packing detail. What if you both agree on when to catch up on that missed TV episode and discuss it without spoilers the next day? Peer supports can make it easier to experience your “own kind of kindness.”
Five Wish List Tips:
- Choose sites that relate to your professional world, not your personal one.
- Select possible gifts that span a respectful range of price points, ($5–$35). If someone wants to spend more, they’ll buy a few items.
- Only offer your Wish Lists info when specifically asked.
- If no one asks you, just save those same-as-cash gift cards and buy your Wish Lists faves for yourself.
- Suggest friends and peers also create Wish Lists so you can discover what they’d like to receive from you! This helps on those “draw-a-name” teacher gift exchanges, too.
Check out the Wish List at Teacher Peach’s website by clicking on the image below. These products are a great blend—professional and inspiring. It’s great fun to browse and you’ll find many discount offerings in the coming weeks—plus free shipping.
Teachers will surely focus on kindness in an extra way during this week simply because it is World Kindness Day on the 13th, but in truth, Teacher Kindness doesn’t need a special day. Every single day is made more special because of teachers and the kindness they innately bring to their classrooms and share with their students—on every one of the 180 days of every school year. That’s the kind of kindness we all cherish.