At this point in my career, I have come to value one thing over all others. Kindness.
The way we interact with each other has become one of the most important cultural norms at our school.
Both as a parent and a teacher, I really don’t care if my students are the best readers or can compute math facts the quickest.
As a colleague, I also don’t care which of my peers are classified as the BEST teacher. What really makes a GOOD co-worker? Student? Neighbor?
How you treat people matters the most. Period.
It matters to me so much, that I spent the past two weeks, the time around Valentine’s Day, going into classrooms to spread kindness.
As the Instructional Coach, I want to give my teachers a 30-minute break. Either as a breather or to go observe another teacher. So for this quick lesson, I read two books.
First I read We Are All Wonders to talk about empathy.
It is super important for me to share with students that empathy is a normal emotion that humans experience. We have empathy so that we do not have to experience all events, including dangerous ones. We all cringe when we see another kid fall on the playground. This response is to help us all endure and navigate danger.
Kids know what kindness is. But are often stuck with how to actually perform kind acts. This is where the book Be Kind falls next. YES, I read them both. Back to back.
Be Kind is an amazing story that again addresses empathy. For the first few pages in the book all the students in all the grades, tk-5 are absolutely still and silent. They are enthralled.
At the end of the book, I circle back to address the three examples of kindness that are addressed in the book. Giving attention (or noticing as I add to this description), helping and giving. This is the point when we start talking about all the examples of what we can do to make out school and community become kinder.
Essentially, this is just one of the many ways we are talking about kindness in our school. As a coach, it is just one of the MANY ways I work with my staff to build community and common background and understanding.