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
10 thoughts on “The Big Picture Series: Care Enough.”
http://writingeverydayworks.wordpress.com/2009/01/10/filling-up-emotional-tanks/ Hmmmm.. I was just going to post a link to this post and here it is. Very strange. Anyway, enjoy! I appreciate your posts. deb
I love this! And it’s absolutely true. Those little things — things we don’t even think about, things we take for granted — can mean so much to other people.
I love this idea of Random acts of Kindness for our students — I try to do it, but making it intentional will encourage me to do it even more!
Oops should say “choose the one student..” sorry!
Ruth~thank you so much for the wonderful reminder that we need to remember it isn’t all about the lesson. Last year at a classroom management seminar I heard a presenter say 3 choose the one student you have not connected with. Every day for a week talk with them for 3 minutes about anything. Preferably you do most of the listening. I choose a student who had trouble at home and every morning he and I would walk together from student pick up to the classroom. I actually began looking forward to our little conversations. It only takes a few RAK.
Love this. It’s dead on. Thanks for the reminder.
I love that Crutcher Chapter. It’s my personal favorite in the book. I love the line, “Favorite teachers save lives,” at the end of that great story about the girl’s teacher at the wedding. Great FMI links Ruth!
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