I read a quote once that said, “Being rude is easy. It does not take any effort and is a sign of weakness and insecurity. Kindness shows great self-discipline and strong self-esteem. Being kind is not always easy when dealing with rude people. Kindness is a sign of strength.” (author unknown)
Teachers, I know your days are tough. Whether you’re working in your classroom full-time trying to manage your students or you’re adjusting to teaching your class online, you’re being stretched and pulled in many directions, and you may be feeling overworked and overwhelmed. This week, I encourage you to pray for kindness. Be kind to your students and their parents who are struggling to adjust to this uncertain and unprecedented school year. Show extra measures of grace and approach everyone (students, parents, administration, IT staff, coworkers, etc.) with kindness and understanding. You’ll never look back on a conversation and wish you hadn’t been kind. But you may look back and wish you could retract the harsh words, the hasty misunderstandings, or the rude comments spoken without thinking. When something happens to provoke you to anger, always respond rather than react. Responding involves pausing, praying, and speaking with intention. Colossians 4:6 says, “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”
Speak the truth. Hold students accountable. Maintain your Christian witness. Be kind.
Here are 10 ways that teachers can spread kindness in their classroom and school!
- Write a coworker a note, letting them know one specific thing you appreciate about them. Include their favorite treat with the note.
- Let someone else take the great parking spot right next to the entrance.
- Bring a basket of goodies to your front office staff (snacks, hand sanitizer, lotion, tissues, mints/gum, etc.).
- Mail positive notes (or send e-mails) to 5 students. Write specific things you appreciate/value about each student. Include a pack of stickers or a coupon for an ice cream from a local spot in your town.
- Be on the lookout for a student who seems lonely/left out. Give up your lunch period one day and sit with them in the lunch room. Ask questions to find out about their family, pets, interests, etc.
- Bring your principal their favorite snack/drink/treat. Don’t know what it is? Ask the secretary – they know everything!
- Write a kind note to the school janitor/janitorial staff, thanking them for their hard work.
- Tidy/Clean up/Decorate the teacher’s lounge.
- Plan a special game for your class to enjoy, just for fun.
- Befriend a new teacher at your school – invite her to join you for lunch, brainstorm lesson plan ideas with her, give her some fun teacher supplies and/or books for her classroom library.
I’ve created a printable version of this list if you’d like to print it and stick it in your desk drawer for inspiration. The download also includes some FREE note cards to use to spread kindness around your classroom/school:
I also have these FREE seasonal Kindness Gram notecards available to download.
Kindness Book Study:
Books about Kindness by R. J. Polacio:
We’re All Wonders
Have you read the book Wonder by R.J. Polacio? It’s a FANTASTIC fiction novel that follows 10-year-old August Pullman, a sweet boy with a disease that has left his face deformed. Kids at school are unkind to Auggie because of his physical appearance. Throughout the story, the reader learns that, though Auggie looks different from his peers, he just wants what we all want: to make friends, to be included, and to be accepted for who he is on the inside. You will cheer for Auggie and consider him a friend long after you close the book. It’s definitely a must-read for any upper elementary classroom! The story has also been made into a movie – it’s excellent!
Check out the book on Amazon: Wonder by R.J. Polacio
There is also a picture book version of the story that can be used with younger students: We’re All Wonders by R.J. Polacio
We’re All Wonders may be Auggie’s story, but it taps into every child’s longing to belong, and to be seen for who they truly are. It’s the perfect way for families and educators to talk about empathy and kindness with young children.
You can also listen to We’re All Wonders being read on Youtube here: We’re All Wonders (YouTube)
I love using this book with my students because of the main message in the story: Choose Kindness. Auggie believes that everyone is a wonder, if you know how to look. I have created some no-prep activities that will extend your reading of this book and challenge your students to recognize that 1. They are wonders and 2. We all need to choose kindness
This resource was created for grades 1-3 and includes:
- We’re All Wonders graphic organizer
- Our Class is Full of Wonders – Have each of your students sign their name and display the poster on your classroom door.
- The Earth is Big Enough coloring page
- Kind or Unkind sorting activity
- I am a Wonder craft activity – each student creates a poster with positive character traits that describe themselves. Includes instructions and 6 different templates to choose from.
- An Imaginary Getaway visualizing activity
- An Imaginary Getaway visualizing activity with caption
- A Letter to a Wonder writing activity
- Changing the Way We See activity
If you’d like to use this book study with your students, you can click here to download the digital files: We’re All Wonders No-Prep Activities
Do you have any special ideas/stories about spreading kindness in your classroom and school? I’d love to hear them! Send me an e-mail or tag me on social media @joyinthejourneyteaching – I’m always encouraged to hear of people choosing to be kind!
I’ll leave you with one final thought: