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KIND THINGS TO DO . . . as a teacher

Teachers are not unfamiliar with kindness. In fact, their profession is based on kindness and caring just as much as it is on teaching. A teacher, by using praise, and by rewarding positive behaviour, is able to foster and maintain children’s interest. This behaviour also develops the child’s creativity and self worth. As written by former first lady Rosalynn Carter in the foreword to Kid’s Random Acts of Kindness (Conari Press), “Simple acts of kindness are natural to children, but it is a quality that is fragile and easily crushed if not respected, nurtured and appreciated.” Teachers make an effort to respect, nurture and appreciate their pupil’s kindness response. Some of the ways they do this around the world is as follows.

If you are aware of other ways teachers use kindness, we would be grateful to learn of these so we can add them to the list.

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  • Encourage community responsibility in the playground. These can be in the form of helping other children, reporting bullying behaviour, picking up litter, cleaning graffiti, reporting suspicious looking people, a food or clothing drive for underprivileged or homeless people (which could be passed on to one of the community service organisations).
  • Students could be asked to tell stories about an act of kindness carried out by or to themselves, or his/her family or friends.
  • Students could be asked to give written examples of acts of kindness, or create a painting depicting kindness, or write poetry or prose with a kindness theme. Banks, community centres, senior citizen’s centres, and other organisations will sometimes display this material on their premises.
  • Students could be asked to give their ideas about why kindness can develop self worth, make people feel good, promote better health, help with a case of ‘the blues’, and so on. We have a six page paper on the health aspects of kindness, available free of charge.
  • Students could be asked to write a short essay (preferably with the assistance of parents) on how kindness could help make their community more friendly.
  • Examples could be sought as to how kindness could help – children; home and work environments; the elderly; the handicapped; reduce the level of crime; and so on. This could be a singular or group effort.
  • A class or the whole school could become involved in helping the local community, for example, by visiting a local nursing home, cleaning up the local park, a food and clothing drive for needy people, adopting an anonymous needy family in the area, and so on. The media may be interested in covering such activities.
  • The class could create and distribute greeting cards for people in nursing homes, hospitals, etc for special days such as Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Kindness Day and other appropriate days.
  • Students could be encouraged to carry out acts of kindness to each other, such as ‘adopting’ a new pupil, sharing lunch, cheering up a dejected play mate, etc.
  • Teachers could make up self adhesive ‘Caught you being kind’ or ‘I’m a Kindness Kid’ badges, and attach them to anyone seen carrying out a kind act. This applies to both pupils and staff. Sheets of self-adhesive circles (12 per sheet, fluoro colours available) and rectangles are available at stationery shops.
  • Each person in the class can be given a sheet of paper with the names of all the children in the class. The students would then write a few kind words about each person, including themselves. The sheets are then handed back to the teacher, who at some time within the next few days or weeks, cuts them into strips. The strips for each name are placed in an envelope with that person’s name written on it. The comments should be checked just in case someone puts in a ‘nasty.’ At the end of one of the ensuing days they can be handed to the pupils, who are told not open them until they reach home. This exercise promotes a feeling of self worth in the pupils when they read the positive comments their class mates have made about them. In some instances it has eliminated disruptive practices used by certain children.
  • Something similar to the above, but the teacher writes a few kind words about the pupil on a piece of paper. Such pieces of paper have been known to have been carried in a wallet for many years after the student received them. This exercise not only enhances self worth in the recipient, it also creates fond memories of the teacher.
  • Be a role model for kindness, encourage the practise of kindness, and reward kind behaviour when it is witnessed, by praise and other positive comments.
  • With pre schoolers or year one students, check to ensure the children realise what kindness involves, and why it is considered a positive and desirable response.
  • In any books that are being used in class, the question could be asked of how a kind response to a certain situation might have changed the outcome to a more positive one.
  • The library could be encouraged to make a list of any books with a kind theme.

We invite you to visit our site regularly It will never be completed, as kindness has a positive effect on every facet of people’s lives, giving us an infinite source of subjects to write about. We also hope you will be part of the growth of the site, by helping us with contributions and suggestions. Please e-mail these to because kindness matters.

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