What children take home in their heads and hearts is much more important than what they take home in their hands. – Bev Bos
Sometimes we get caught up in having the perfect plan, the perfect lesson, the perfect unit, the perfect curriculum, and our students producing the perfect pieces. This isn’t what really matters. A middle school student, Jessica, reminded me of this.
I was simply walking to my office when I saw her in the hallway. She smiled and I said, “Hi Jessica.” Her response — “You remembered my name.” I smiled; I had been in her classroom for two days. Then she chatted with me about the trouble she was having with her draft — getting the meaning to come out. Later in the week I conferred with Jessica. We talked about focusing her poem and a bit more about her meaning.
Friday afternoon Jessica saw me in the hall again, smiled, and waved. It struck me then. Jessica probably won’t remember the details of our writing conference in years to come. What she will remember, though, is that I cared about her. I cared enough to remember her name. I cared enough to sit down one on one and have a conversation with her. I cared enough to smile and wave good bye on a Friday afternoon.
Those are the things that really matter. The things we do to care enough for our students.
Practice Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) in your classroom today. Go the extra mile to extend a smile or a pat on the shoulder or a bit of grace. Remember, this is about what students can take home in their hearts, not what they can take home in their hands.
Record the Random Acts of Kindness you practiced today, as well as the students who were the recipients. What were their reactions? What is your energy level at the end of the day after being intentional about extending kindness to your students? What are some more RAK you could carry out tomorrow (and the next day and the next month)? You may want to create a system that would allow you to track the students and your RAK to ensure every student knows you care enough.
For More Information:
- Random Acts of Kindness Website (you’ll have to create a log-in . . . but then there’s lots of great free stuff!)
- Chris Crutcher’s chapter, “Flying Blind,” in Adolescent Literacy: Turning Promise into Practice edited by Beers, Probst, & Rief
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