Photo Credit: https://flic.kr/p/8Ecexy
My brother in law is battling cancer. He has been for some time, and it seems that every time I’m with him, I learn something new. Something very important.
Yesterday, as I was winding my way toward the parking ramp at Roswell Park Cancer Institute, I found myself feeling overwhelmed again. I was running late. We were meeting with doctors. I did not know what the news would be. I didn’t know how my husband or his siblings would take it. I worried about my sister-in-law and my nephews. I worried about my own kids. I was tired and sad and angry and all kinds of impatient.
I stopped at the sign right next to the ramp, and a woman waiting there caught my eye. She smiled at me gently. She waved me along.
And I realized: it’s always like this here. People consistently practice random acts of kindness everywhere. They move slower. They speak softer. They take care to say hello. They invite one another to step ahead of them in the coffee line.
At Roswell Park Cancer Institute, everyone knows that everyone else there is fighting a hard battle, and they do their best to hold one another up. Yesterday, I learned that they celebrate small victories too. The news we received was good. There were hugs and high fives all around.
I think my teacher friends deserve to work in schools where people treat one another like this. Especially right now.
What would happen if we went to work each day confident that our colleagues would smile gently at us in the hall?
Take care to say hello?
What if we knew that despite our differences, we shared a collective respect for the hard battle we fight each day? What if we did our best to hold one another up? What would that look like? Where would we begin?
These questions shook me out of bed this morning, so I began crafting the list below. I hope it helps you end your week well. I hope it greets you again on Monday morning too.
Get It Free Today
Twenty Acts of Kindness that Teachers Can Do for Other Teachers:
1. If your parking space is closer to the building, offer it to someone who really needs it.
2. Buy a few different condiments, some soft drinks, bottled water, or yogurt. Leave them in the staff room fridge with a note inviting all to use.
3. Sweep your room for books, resources, tools, and supplies that you no longer need. Email staff to let them know what you have, and invite them to drop by and grab them up.
4. Write your custodian, school counselor, lunch room staff, or school administrative assistants a note of thanks.
5. Tell your building principal what you appreciate most about him or her.
6. Buy nice soap or hand lotion for the staff restroom.
7. Add a little cash to a colleague’s lunch account.
8. Leave some quarters by the vending machines or staff coffee pot.
9. Genuinely compliment three colleagues daily until you’ve spoken with all of them.
10. Challenge yourself to smile at every person you pass in the hall.
11. Bring a colleague a cup of coffee or tea and a link to your favorite podcast, poem, or playlist.
12. Be the colleague who shares great jokes or cartoons.
13. Give copies of your favorite children’s books to teachers who are expecting new babies.
14. Host a lesson or unit planning potluck dinner in your room on a regular basis.
15. Decorate a colleague’s door or desk.
16. Bring someone flowers from your garden.
17. Support teachers who devote their lives to service and charity work. Particularly those who help students do the same. Leverage your own social media accounts to help their values go viral.
18. Take over lunch or hall duty, offer to proctor an exam, or chaperone a dance.
19. Sing your colleague’s praises to your building principal or superintendent, using very specific examples of their awesomeness.
20. Do you know a teacher who blogs or publishes their writing in another online forum? Read. Comment. Encourage others to do the same.
Tell me what you would add to this list! What could you do to brighten a colleague’s day? What would you like others to do for you, if they were so inclined? I’m hoping you’ll add your ideas in the comments section. I’d love to see this little list grow…..
Want more kindness? Don’t miss Angela Stockman’s new book, The Teach Kindness Project. It’s an exclusive free gift to our readers.
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A former English teacher, Angela Stockman is the founder of the WNY Young Writer's Studio, a community of writers and teachers of writing in Buffalo, New York. She is also an education consultant with expertise in curriculum design, instructional coaching, and assessment. Read more from Angela at Angelastockman.com.