Last year, at this time of the year, we launched an initiative that we titled ‘Be Brave Be Kind,’ our intention was to develop among our foundation learners confidence in themselves as individuals that could then play a part in making the lives of those around them just a little bit better. More specifically it was intended that they would develop the confidence and skills necessary to welcome and include our second cohort of learners.
Well a year on we still use that phrase and have developed it to include the concept of ‘Love and be Loved’. A big part of our philosophy and vision revolves developing multi skilled individuals who are confident enough to develop beyond their comfort zones and play vital roles in building communities.
In many ways all of the above can be summed up with one simple word, kindness. Kindness for self, others and the environment. Kindness and the act of being kind has become an important concept over the last year and a concept that we plan to build on as we enter our eighth term. Over the last year we have seen plenty of examples of how important the concept is when developing thinking and engaged learners who feel comfortable in a safe learning environment, from students organizing events for chosen charities like Daffodil day, through to learners growing vegetables to donate to less advantaged families and then the everyday occurrence where learners tell us about those they are concerned about so we can intervene.
To me these little acts of kindness indicate a culture that is moving towards one of natural care for self and others. It is time consuming but vital if we are to play our part in developing healthy attitudes within our leaders of tomorrow.
One of the greatest powers that a teacher has is the power to be kind. The power to constantly and relentlessly display small acts of kindness to their learners. Part of our job is to use acts of kindness, even small acts of kindness to grow big people.
The graphic below shows this far better than I could describe it. The ripple effect of small acts of genuine kindness and care plants seeds that often don’t flourish until learners have left school but they do flourish.
We teach our learners many things but one of the most important things we teach them is how to be kind to themselves and others. The most effective away of teaching kindness and by showing kindness. This is how the ripple effect works. Those of us who have been teaching for a long time all have many personal stories of how small acts of kindness influence young adults in a very positive way.
Teenagers make mistakes, they are wired to make mistakes, in many ways it is how they learn, so the concept of kindness is important as they navigate their way from child to adult. They may not always seem to listen or appreciate but the seeds are sown and the influence is there even if it takes a while to germinate.
Kindness creates an environment where it is OK to make mistakes, learn from them and become a better person as a result of this process.
Our aims as a school are to develop self, build communities and transform futures, the concept of kindness and being kind actually unifies these three concepts.
It encourages the confidence to believe in oneself, it encourages the confidence to then pass on that kindness to others and as a result it encourages a tone for the future, one where care for self and others is at least as important as material or financial endeavor.
Yes fairly idealistic I know but surely this is why we teach. Surely our idealistic belief that we are creating individuals who will create a better future for all is what drives us as educators. It is this idealism that allows us to forgive the transgressions of youth and realize that is all they are, transgressions, road bumps on a journey.
So I look forward to this term, one where we intend to focus on kindness not only as a deliberate act but also as a natural one.