This is a blogpost about classroom kindness.
Did you know there is a considerable difference in definition between “nice” and “kind”? “Nice” means to be “pleasant, agreeable, or satisfactory”, while “kind” means “showing friendly, generous, or considerate nature”. Wow, that’s a HUGE difference. Kindness comes from love and intrinsic motivation, while niceness comes from fear and longing to be seen a certain way. I’ve been reading up a lot about kindness vs. niceness (see THIS article for a great detailed account of the difference).
Creating and inspiring kind students is a difficult task, but these are our next generation of presidents, doctors, teachers, and customer service personnel. We truly want our world to be a better place so it needs to start with us, the teachers. First and foremost, WE need to be the ultimate example of kindness. Showing how we TRULY care about our fellow man (other students, classes, teachers, admin, etc). We all know they watch our every move and hopefully we already are genuinely kind and caring people.
Over the summer I found these adorable rubber bracelets at Target. They had sweet sayings on them like “Great Friend” and “Awesome Attitude”. You know how the Dollar Spot is, so it’s likely they don’t have them anymore. But I did find something similar from Amazon (affiliate link). Facebook live video if you want to skip all the text that follows…
I decided this year, I would discuss with my students what “kindness” means and how we can notice it within others. I explained to them that throughout the year if I noticed someone being genuinely kind, I would let them wear a bracelet. Not looking for a reward, like yelling out “DID YOU SEE WHAT I DID?”, just being kind. We also talked about how if they felt like they wanted to nominate someone, they could tell me privately because I don’t see everything (unless they are acting up…you know we have eyes on the back of our heads).
I hung this little sign with the bracelets in the front of my classroom so it was always on their minds.
There were lots of sweet things happening in my classroom, but I was always looking for the one who did it out of the kindness of his/her heart. Not for recognition, but only because he/she truly cared about someone else.
One little girl in my class who brought in a snack for her friend everyday and I asked her why. The little girl told me, “She never has anything to eat, so I bring her something”. Cue waterworks! She didn’t even think twice. She had been doing this for a few weeks and I had never noticed! That little star got to wear a kindness bracelet because of her kind spirit.
If you’d like to start something like this in your classroom, here’s the FREE sign.
Do you strive for a kind classroom and a positive classroom climate? How do you work that in with your students?