Be Kind November
Updated: Mar 24, 2020
We live in a world that allows billionaires to exist while millions barely have the basics to survive. So how can we make the world a better place? One option is to expect world leaders, businesses and other influencers to make these changes. Another way is if we all do a small act of kindness once per day, week, or month!
Last month we celebrated World Kindness Day with a webinar on ‘How can we promote kindness and global empathy in our students?’. In our webinar we had Jacqueline the founder of 365give.ca and Jordan co-founder of belouga.org share their insights. Throughout the discussion both shared wonderful stories about students being kind in all parts of the world. Finally, they shared a few ideas for educators to bring kindness into the classroom. If you missed it you can watch the recording here => link
Passing on the Kindness
This webinar was so inspirational that I decided to support six educators with their classroom for the rest of November. So far I’ve offered educators the following support:
Research different laptop options
Create a book illustrator job posting
Shared some of my English learning resources
Discussed ideas to develop an activity on climate change
Brainstormed ideas for mental health support for students
My experience supporting fellow educators felt so rewarding that I hope to volunteer my support on a monthly basis going forward. Although for most I spent between 20 mins to an hour I could tell that even just a little of my time was useful for them. Which also got me thinking what is the key to kindness? My belief is that genuine kindness starts with empathy. Although for some empathy may come naturally, to truly put yourself in someone else’s shoes is something most of us learn over time.
Reflecting back on my experience supporting educators in November I realized the first step to empathy is actively listening and understanding someone's challenge/project. Once you’ve heard their perspective it’s a good idea to paraphrase what they said and ask follow-up questions to better understand their situation. It also helps to understand what type of support they are looking for. In many cases being a sounding board and bouncing around ideas they can try is enough! You can also suggest some ways you can support to give them the choice to see what works best.
Kindness Ideas for Your Classroom
How can you bring kindness and giving into your classroom? During our webinar we had a great mix of ideas, here are just a few ideas:
Start a discussion on how students have been kind this month
Empower students to choose how to be kind and give back
Have a kindness/giving jar for students to add ideas
Some may believe that only younger students should learn kindness and empathy. Just remember that both are character traits we learn over time and it’s always valuable to inspire people to be kind at all stages of their lives. Consider for example what motivated you to work in education? Many educators like myself find the joy in supporting children and teens. In many cases those who are fulfilled by their career are driven by the people they support and/or the problem they are working to solve!
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