Oct 5th is World Teachers’ Day – Kindness Is What It’s All About

By reaching out like she did, Ms. Bell extended a kindness that still resonates with me to this day. And yet, at the time, I bet she didn’t think it made a significant difference in my life.

It did.

Kindness Never Goes Out of Style

Our world needs more kindness. Teachers are there to provide it.

We have become a society where virtual words have replaced personal connection — where social media has become the way to interact with others. And often those virtual interactions are vitriolic – -condemning others without seeking to understand them or the facts, labeling others with all manner of terrible words and accusations.

Our world needs more kindness. Teachers are there to provide it.

Schools are still that place in society where the relationships are infinitely more important than the work we actually do.

In schools, we are afforded the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of children every single day — simply by being kind.

Ms. Bell did that for me.

Here’s a story of when I was a classroom teacher early in my career and the apparent difference that a simple act of kindness made to one of my Gr 9 students:

For the sake of this story let’s call this student Leroy. He was quiet, super smart and appeared to have a rather small social grouping of friends. And while he was already in my Science class, I made a point of saying ‘Hi’ to him whenever I saw him in the hallway. I thought it might make a small difference somehow. That was it — nothing extravagant, nothing over the top — I said ‘Hello’. Even asked him occasionally how he was doing.

For Leroy, that act of kindness was apparently important and meaningful.

You see, Leroy was being abused by his uncle and felt he had no where else to turn. He came to my classroom one day after school and told me about it. You could almost see the cloud lifting above him as he shared his darkest secret with me.

Time stood still for me at that moment. I wasn’t trained for this kind of thing — I wasn’t a counsellor — I taught Science and Chemistry. But, the connection made through an act of kindness had apparently opened the door to the possibility of a better tomorrow for Leroy.

Maybe he would have told someone else — maybe — but maybe not.

I won’t get into the details of how I worked with other professionals to get Leroy the help he needed, but I will tell you that the experience left an indelible impression upon me. And it wasn’t the only time — there was another student in a different school who also disclosed to me about abuse that was happening to her. Those are powerful moments that make one appreciate the importance of a school system that is welcoming, safe and caring — a school system that is kind.

I have a wish. Ready?

Compassion Makes the World a Better Place

I wish that we showed more kindness in our world — where we reach out to better understand others before rushing to judgement.

In our busy lives we CHOOSE to not take the time to understand — to not ask questions and learn about one another. We have replaced deeper, personal understanding with virtual messages that often lack any comprehension of the situation, are negative in their tone and are frequently accusatory in their nature.

We have become a world where we more often judge first rather than seeking understanding and providing kindness.

Back to teachers …

We All Benefit When We’re Kind

On the positive side of things, schools are still those places where deeper understanding is possible and necessary — where connectedness and kindness still exist. I work in the best occupation in the world. Where else other than school can you work every day to make a positive impact on so many others — to build an atmosphere of understanding, acceptance and inclusion?

Schools are where we have the greatest opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others — where kindness can and does help make our world a better place — one person at a time. So, really, I guess my wish is about hoping that the kindness we see in our schools from our teachers and others actually has a chance of being a bit more visible in the rest of the world.

Here’s to the teachers, and the other adults in our schools, who make a difference in the lives of our students every single day.

2 thoughts on “Oct 5th is World Teachers’ Day – Kindness Is What It’s All About

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