Bringing random acts of kindness to schools and classrooms
This wonderful idea was the brainchild of Lesley Munro who teaches in Kent.
I’d come across the idea of ‘random acts of kindness’ so latched onto Lesley’s mentioning it in a tweet and kept in touch with her about how the ideas was developing in her school. I know this hasn’t got any ‘History’ to it – kindness isn’t the obvious way for individuals to get a mention in the National Curriculum or GCSE and A level specifications. There’s far more horror, cruelty and selfishness in what we’re expected to teach than kindness and we’re often quick to question individuals’ good intentions, looking for less desirable motives. So maybe this redresses the balance a bit.
Here’s Lesley’s account – you can follow her on twitter @LesleyMunro4. And if you pick up the idea and use it please let Lesley or I know – as she says below – ‘Kindness is infectious’
Lesley writes …
Having watched the scenes on Black Friday of fighting over ‘stuff’ on the television I wondered what had happened to make people behave like that on the run up to Christmas. Wasn’t Christmas supposed to be about giving? Wasn’t it supposed to be about family and sharing? I decided to try to combat a little of the ‘I want..’ when students were talking about Christmas. It seemed they were very much focused on what they wanted to receive rather than what they would be giving.
I decided to see if I could encourage my students to do some random acts of kindness. After tweeting about it and receiving encouragement and advice from @BearWithOneEar and @marywoolley I decided to give it a go. I created an advent calendar with an act of kindness for each day in December. These were simple things that would not cost the students money, for example opening the door for someone, smiling at someone they didn’t know or writing a thank you note to a support member of staff.
I made up two boards where students could stick notes of random acts of kindness given and received.
Two teachers in my department asked if they could join in with their forms so now there were three of us. We explained the idea to our students and day by day the boards filled up with heart, bubble and star shaped post-its with little acts of kindness on. All posts were anonymous and students were told they did not have to join in, no one would keep track of who had and who hadn’t. Nothing would happen to them if they didn’t but I was pretty sure something would happen to them if they did. Some students opened doors for teachers and students, picked up litter, shared lunch with someone or washed up at breakfast club. Two year 9 students queued for ages on a school trip to Cologne to buy a homeless person a burger. My favourite part of this one was that they bought a burger without cheese in case he was lactose intolerant. One student waited outside a supermarket with an elderly lady’s dog so she could shop without worrying. Some students wrote thank you notes to teachers and support staff. Teachers who received these said it made their day and it encouraged them to join in with their students. Acts of kindness received were also recorded.
A member of staff who had been particularly touched by some thank you notes from her students took the idea to the staff team. It has been decided that the whole school will participate for a week of so two or three times a year.
It seems kindness is infectious.
Esther added: I absolutely love this idea – it’s utterly warming and brilliant in its impact, and as it is so easy to achieve there’s no reason why more people can’t just implement it. Random acts of kindness can – and do – change people’s lives each day, and so I can’t praise this idea highly enough.
Constructive feedback is always welcome, particularly anything that will help other teachers.