As a student teacher, or just an adult in general, I am big on kindness and empathy. One of the top qualities I value in a person is empathy. I find many people don’t have it and seeing it manifested in my 1st graders sends me into raving teacher mode and “put yourself in their shoes” rants.
Tiana (choosing Disney names for the sake of their anonymity) is often one of these kids. Whisper singing “meanie meanie” to the the overly self conscious or making hurtful comments when she thinks there isn’t an adult around. So I’ve taken to focusing on all the positive attributes I can. It’s hard. I want to beat my head on a wall sometimes. However, all 1st graders can be unkind at times. Adults too. I recently started a “star jar” in our classroom to promote kindness. I make origami stars (they flip for these things) and students get to nominate peers for doing kind deeds to place a star in our jar. Not to brag (but I will), it’s one of my better ideas. They freaking love it.
Fast forward a couple weeks. March 2 2015. Another student falls down. Most kids start to snicker and one in particular laughs theatrically. Ugh. They’re killing me. Then, this quiet but firm voice says, “You don’t be rude to your friends!”
The room gets oddly quiet for 6 year olds and we all look at the speaker. Tiana.
Theatrical-Laughing-Girl rolls her eyes. I look from girl to girl, “Tiana, I don’t believe she heard you. Please, tell her again.”
“You don’t be rude to friends.”
My heart swelled as she directly quoted me (minus the grammar, of course). My little monsters surprise me quite often. I love them.