Archive for May, 2015
“Get to know them, indulge your curiosity, spend time learning about who they are as human beings; the rest will follow. Your students will remember how you made them feel, whether they felt loved and cared for by you.”
Check out this great article from the folks at Edutopia that shares what one teacher wishes she had known at the beginning of her career:
Then, please visit www.lsci.org to check out how this organization, which I have been affiliated with for 15 years, gives adults the skills they need to look beyond a student’s surface behavior and get to know the child within.
Two weeks ago, I shared with you the story of Mistake Cake–the ingenious and compassionate way that a former high school classmate of mine teaches her kids about righting wrongs and supporting family members. She also gave me permission to share this post, in which she talks more about the gift of forgiving the mistakes of others and owning our own slip ups.
It started this way. When my kids were little, and they made a creative mess, or a mistake, or they were mean and regretful, I would say the same words. These words brought calm to me, even if I was unsettled inside:
“It’s okay. You’re learning.”
The words “you’re learning” are truthful, forgiving, and full of promise.
As the kids grew older, and I made mistakes in front of them, I learned to say, “I’m sorry. I’m learning.”
Once, I scolded my daughter for using stamps as stickers. Moments after my accusatory lecture, I determined that the stamps had caught a snag and become stuck because of where I had put them. My child was bewildered. She was little and had not lied. Yet there I stood before her, shaming her for being naughty. All the while, she had done absolutely nothing wrong. Thirteen years later, I can still feel the lump of guilt that sunk in my gut when I realized that I punished her for my mistake. “I’m SO SORRY for scolding you for something that you didn’t do! I’m learning. Please forgive me!” I cried. I dropped to my knees and hugged her and kissed her passionately, mournfully.
“It’s okay Mommy. You’re learning.”
The children are now throwing the ball out in front of the house. The smallest one repeatedly overthrows it. “Whoops! I’m sorry!” she yells.
The bigger one says, “It’s okay. You’re learning.”
During April, I put my elementary school-aged students on a SECRET AGENT MISSION: to show random acts of kindness to a designated classmate, without revealing their identity. The rules were simple:
- No buying gifts
- No having a parent bake cookies
- This mission is all about simple acts of consideration that come from the heart.
- The secret agents get to reveal their identity at the end of the month.
My purpose is to show the kids how small, everyday acts can make a big difference in our school.
The good news, now that it’s reveal time: they really get it!! Here are just a few of the terrific things they have done:
“I made a picture for her.”
“I asked if she needed help carrying her stuff to the bus.”
“I told him he did a good job in Music.”
“I held the door for the Kindergarteners”
“I complimented her dress.”
“I asked him to play when he was all alone at recess.”
“I shared my snack when she forgot hers.”
It’s unanimous: these simple things have made the kids feel “great!” So much goodness around here.
No act of kindness is ever wasted.