How did you spend World Kindness Day? Kindness tends to give us the warm and fuzzies, but for educators, teaching and preaching it can be a challenge. With so much emphasis placed on improvements in math and science, skills like compassion often receive less classroom time. This unintended trade-off may be short-sighted, as compassion is an important social-emotional skill that begins to develop in early childhood and is essential for lifelong health and success.
On World Kindness Day, EVERFI teacher ambassadors Jenny and Bridgett hosted #EVERFIedchat, where educators from around the Twitterverse shared resources and suggestions for teaching students about kindness. If you missed the chat, never fear! We’ve collected the best tweets from the chat for you here. Check it out!
Q1: What are your favorite books and resources that promote kindness?
The best part of convening together is to be able to pool resources that help us to be successful. Of course, people suggested EVERFI’s resources, like The Compassion Project, Character Playbook, and Honor Code, but there were many other options shared, too. For example:
— Dr. Justin Aglio (@JustinAglio) November 14, 2019
Q2: What impact can acts of kindness have on students?
— Mrs. Albion (@Fullstoppish) November 14, 2019
Show this to the next Negative Nelly who says they don’t have time to address kindness, because Mrs. Albion is spot on!
Q3: How do you help students to feel a social responsibility to be kind?
Jenny Watson says, it should come naturally.
— Jenny Watson (@SEMSFACSTeach) November 14, 2019
Modeled behaviors are a strong predictor of future behaviors. It’s important that we have the courage to explicitly address our mistakes when we make them.
Q4: A kindness lesson was a flop – how do you bounce back?
We’ve all been there – you are in your groove, going above and beyond… and yet your students struggle to relate. Or they can’t stop obsessing over a single detail. Or they just aren’t in the mood. Perhaps a change of venue is needed:
As a former PE teacher the gym is where the magic can happen with compassion. Students aren’t needing to be quiet like in other spaces. They can be free in gym/recess. #EVERFIedchat
— Ryan Trauger (@RyRyTechGuy) November 14, 2019
But most importantly, think about why. Brian T. Donohue recommends an honest self-survey and figuring out a way forward.
A4: We talk about being reflective all the time. Talk about the failure and own it. Why did it fail? Perhaps we weren’t ready to do the thing we were trying to do. Discuss why the buy in wasn’t there and then discuss ways to get us to the place where it will be. #EVERFledchat
— Brian T. Donohue (@BrianTDonohue77) November 14, 2019
Q5: How do you demonstrate compassion in your classroom?
Sometimes it can be difficult to make kindness a cornerstone of your classroom culture. In these moments, it’s helpful to remember what other educators do to rise above. Mykel Estes recommends always setting an example.
— Mykel J. Estes, MEd (@EdTechMykel) November 14, 2019
Q6: How do you address non-compassionate behavior in a teachable way?
While many educators might consider non-compassionate behavior, assign consequences and move forward, this isn’t necessarily the most teachable approach. Placing kindness as the cornerstone of classroom management, like Carrie Farrell suggests, empowers students and honors their emotional journey.
A6: Fill them with empathy, give them a role to facilitate compassion #everfiedchat
— Carrie L. Farrell (@CarrieLFarrell7) November 14, 2019
Q7 Let’s not forget our colleagues – how can we make school workplaces kinder?
Mrs. Gray had great ideas, especially for this time of year!
A7: Secret Santa or Secret Pals; students write thank you letters to teachers; treats in teachers lounge or mailboxes; be sure to include office staff; custodians & cafeteria workers #EVERFIedchat
— Mrs. Gray (@FACS_Teacher1) November 14, 2019
These are great ways to go out of your way to help someone, but don’t forget that approaching your colleagues with kindness and compassion doesn’t require any additional work on your behalf.
Q8 When it comes to teaching and imparting kindness to your students, how do you know you’ve been successful?
Measuring our success when it comes to compassion is a far more nebulous thing than simply assessing whether or not students fully understand how to do long division. Luckily, Bridgett Schmitt painted a beautiful picture of community drenched in kindness.
A8: You stop noticing the kindness because it’s the norm. The student who includes someone in their group,picks up dropped supplies, or volunteers to help another student that just isn’t getting the content. They don’t think twice. #EVERFIedchat #WorldKindnessDay pic.twitter.com/Ngxh5WWROc
— Bridgett Schmitt (@MissSchmitt1) November 14, 2019
Next time, join us in real-time to share resources and get takeaways that will strengthen your pedagogy. On December 11, 2019 at 7 PM EST/6 PM CST, you’ll find us at #EVERFIedchat on Twitter to discuss holiday spending.