Kindness Shouldn't be One of a Kind

Why is kindness important at school and in education?


Kill ‘em…with kindness.

The other day I was having a conversation with some of my mom friends. The end of the school year is wrapping up for our kids. I was mentioning how sad my son will be when the school year ends, because he loves his teacher. I do too! She is so kind. I felt it the moment I walked into her classroom and met her for the first time. She has a welcoming smile and a very patient and happy attitude. She treats the kids as her own. Kindergarten teachers are angels sent from heaven, in my opinion, because that is one job that requires a TON of patience and organization. Being kind has set the tone in this teacher's classroom. Students, my son included, look forward to school. These kids recognize it as a safe place to learn and grow. As it should be for all students.

Ever since we were little we’ve been told to be kind to others. Unfortunately, this is a character trait we sometimes forget. While being unkind can sometimes be easier, and let’s be honest, instantly gratifying, it doesn’t get us very far anywhere, especially in the classroom. Being consciously kind in the classroom can create a better environment filled with respect and strong relationships. Along with a positive classroom environment, you will get one of the best gifts of all.

Alright, so we have to be kind but what does that look like? Being kind as a teacher can take many different forms. Here are some easy and quick ways to be kind to your students AND your fellow teachers (and maybe even your administration).

1.       Compliment: See a student with some cool new kicks? Rock on! “I love your shoes!” See that someone got a new hair style? A quick and easy “Hey I like your hair!” can go a-long-way especially if someone is feeling a little down. Don’t just compliment for the sake of complimenting. Make sure it is GENUINE! Students will be happy that you took notice of them in general and your coworkers will start or end the day with a little pep in their step.
2.       Be a helping hand: Do you know that your colleague is freaking out because testing is coming up and he/she just can’t get little Sally to stop eating her pencil? Offer up some advice or, if you can, sit in and help Sally stay on task--that’s even better. See a student who can’t get his/her locker open? Don’t just walk on past, help them out with that tricky combo. 
3.       Take interest:  Pay attention to what is going on in your students’ lives and listen to what they have to say. This is important because it is a nice thing to do, but it can also create a great relationship between you and your student. You can also take interest in your co-workers. You may find that you have more in common with them and make a new teaching best friend!



4.       Offer a hug: If a student is looking down or a fellow teacher is looking a little glum, offer them an ear and then a hug. Sometimes this small gesture can go far! Make sure you have a good understanding of the person’s personal space though. You don’t want to make someone feel uncomfortable. If someone is not a touchy feely person, do not force yourself on them, that’s a whole different issue!
5.       Pause before you speak: This is where that instant gratification can be a problem! Sometimes people say things to us that are rude or unkind. Sometimes, make sure you’re sitting down for this one, students can say things that sting. While our instinct may be to fire off the first thing that pops into our head, the better idea is to pause. Take a breath and then respond. Giving yourself even a few seconds of wait time can make a huge difference as to HOW you react. Responding with kindness will help keep the relationship you have with your student/coworker positive.

There are many, MANY ways to be kind in everyday life as well as in the classroom. One of the best parts about being kind in the classroom or your school in general is simple: the environment will be forever better. If you are kind to your students, they will have respect for you as a teacher. They will, most of the time, reciprocate that kindness back to you. When you are kind to your fellow teachers or administration, they will most likely return that kindness as well. So when you need a smile, a hug, or a helping hand, they will be there to help you out!



Now, I know most of you are wondering about that gift I mentioned earlier, after all, presents are pretty awesome to get! One of the best things about kindness is how it spreads. If you drop a rock in the water, there is a ripple that spreads out around the area where you dropped the rock. If you drop a bit of kindness, it will spread and every time someone drops a bit more kindness the ripple gets bigger and bigger and bigger. Eventually the ripple will reach your whole school! When kindness reaches a whole school, you have an environment full of respect. You have happier students. You have great relationships. The cherry on top? Productivity. When you allow kindness to be a central part of your teaching and your classroom, you get a productive, respectful, positive classroom. Who doesn’t want that? So, kill ‘em…with kindness.  







Why is kindness important at school and in education? Teachers need to be examples of kindness.

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