Monday, July 22, 2013
Does Kindness Outlast Content?
Following a frightening first grade year with an incessantly yelling teacher, trepidation filled this young heart in anticipation of second grade. Fear, one method of classroom management and control, manifests in students through their downcast eyes, rounded shoulders, and obvious crushed confidence. First grade accomplished this for me. Just weeks from second grade, hopes were not too high for anything better. Upon arrival in the new classroom, we second grade students were greeted with a breath of lovely fresh air. In a word, kindness. This kindness was to escort our class throughout second grade, refilling our learning sails with a gentle breeze of optimism allowing and encouraging us to bravely and excitedly explore new oceans of learning. Kindness. A gentle voice. Happy eyes. Probably not attributes asked about on a teacher job application, but clearly attributes deeply affecting classroom morale and ultimately individual and collective classroom successes. Kindness pierced through the learned fear of the previous school year and nurtured a restored eye contact, strong shoulders and a sweet growing confidence among all of us blessed to be in this happy second grade classroom. I do not recall content taught nor content learned in second grade, albeit to recognize that we all advanced to the third grade. I do recall, however, with vivid and joyful recollection, the loving-kindness of a very gentle, very special, very encouraging teacher, whose tender ways brought smiles and motivated excellence. I have never forgotten to consider the tone used in delivering words to children. Kindness matters. Kindness builds up. Kindness outlasts content.