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The Kindness of Students

I’ve been feeling a bit beat up this week.  It was a long, busy week with lots of good things, but almost an equal number of frustrating, hurtful, or tiring experiences.  I am not going to go into much detail, but by Thursday I was ready for the weekend.  This is very uncharacteristic for me.  I love what I do – I love teaching.  I’ve never been one of those teachers that is counting down the days, hours, minutes, and seconds until the weekend.  But, it was a tough week that became even more difficult by Friday.

Not only had my week been kind of rough, but my five month old puppy, Skelly, was aggressively slammed into a pole by another dog on Thursday night.  We had hoped it was simply a bruised leg or hip.  We had hoped that maybe she was just faking another injury, since she has done this in the past.  (Seriously, she has faked injuries and it is adorable.)  Unfortunately, our hopes were dashed after my husband took her to the vet.  Skelly had a broken hip.  Our sweet, adorable, hyper puppy had a broken hip.

I found out about this during the last period of the day on Friday.  I received a message from my husband that she had a broken hip and could possibly require surgery.  My husband was taking it really hard and I couldn’t do much since I was still at work.  It was at this moment that I felt myself start to crumble.  I was tired.  My week had been pretty tough.  My puppy was in pain.  My husband was worried.

I thought I did a good job of carrying on and teaching as I always do.  However, one thing I have always realized is that kids are perceptive.  Honestly, I think they are more perceptive than adults most days.  They see and read emotions, especially from adults, very well.

A few of my students came up to me as I was holding the door open after class.  They asked if they could talk to me for a second.  They asked me if I was okay.  They said that I did not look like my “usual self”.  I explained to them that I was worried about my puppy who I had just found out had broken her hip.  I definitely found myself teary in that moment, partially due to the week but mostly due to the sincerity of my students.  All three girls expressed how they were so sorry for the puppy and how they love puppies.  They tol
d me that they hope she feels better and that everything works out.  They said they wanted to check on me.

As things have slowed down the last day or so, I find myself reflecting upon this experience.  I found myself thinking about my 137 students and all of the things that might be going on in their lives.  Think about that…137 students.  That is a lot of lives, a lot of experiences.

How often are our students going through a tough week, whether it is on a small scale like mine, or a much larger one?  How many students are coming from broken homes?  How many students have sick family members?  How many students only receive good meals while they are at school?  How many students are being bullied?

My week was rough, but I would just about guarantee that I had a student this week that went through something more difficult.  How many times do we, as the teachers, miss this opportunity to show kindness to our students?

I love the quote to the left.  The world in which our students live is fast-paced and often self-serving.  Kindness can be a novelty – and that is tragic.

I challenge you this week to do the following: Slow down. Broaden your perspective.  Be kind.

I truly think that every person could this, particularly in a school setting, we would see an enormous change in the behavior and attitudes of our students and staff – and for the better.

 

This is a part of a set of blog posts from the Transparency: Real Stories from a Real Classroom series.

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