Teachers know inherently that kids need to feel a sense of belonging in their classrooms—for without making connections, the kids will shut down or act out, sometimes with tragic consequences.
If we identify the lonely kids in our classrooms and ensure that they make connections, can we prevent violence from happening in the future?
I came across an article in a popular parent blog (momastery.com) about a teacher's heartfelt strategy to stop school shootings. After the Columbine tragedy, she has been quietly doing her small part to tackle a big problem. But is her contribution small?
Not when you consider she is part of the big picture.
In thirty years of teaching, I've witnessed thousands of acts of kindness in schools every year, such as:
* parents and volunteers who run breakfast clubs
* coaches who spend countless hours running after-school sports programs that promote self-esteem and team-spirit as much as fitness
* teachers who spend before and after school and during lunches to mentor struggling students
* a principal who buys a bike for a student who can't afford one
* an EA who gives her mittens to a boy who forgot his
* a janitor who buys a proper coat for a child who doesn't have one
* a parent who takes a needy student shopping for a graduation dress
* a teacher who encourages all her students to send everybody in the class an invitation to their parties
* a secretary who phones a grieving child who has just lost a parent
These small acts of kindness are far reaching. The ripples affect the children and families on the receiving end as much as the children and families who witness the acts.
And results in a climate of inclusion.
If the ripple effect is happening in all schools in a board and in all boards throughout the province, consider the impact.
It's not small when you do the math!
You'll find the inspirational article at:
The article was sent to Minnesota teacher Erin Nordstrom by a parent who recognized "the kindness and community" in Nordstrom's classroom, which was like the teacher's profiled in the blog.