Kindness: Behind the Scenes

It has been a couple of weeks now since I began embarking on my road to kindness. It is not easy to do at times, and there is work involved, but it is a labor of love for the ripples that may be created, but unseen.

Every week, I make it my goal to send a card to 5 staff at each of my schools. I do the cards for the HS on Sunday night, and I do the MS cards on Monday night. At this point, it takes me at least a 1/2 hour for each set. I concoct a note, and then I add something to the top section of the card. Once it was jokes about the eclipse. Another time it was kindness quotes. Currently I also include scratch ‘n sniff stickers as well. I need to get more stickers soon.

The high school also happens to send out faculty and staff birthdays each day in the announcements, so I know exactly who is having a birthday. I have plenty of blank cards that I have been using to send birthday cards to these folks; I enjoy creating something unique and special for each one. I create a birthday saying and draw a picture to go with it in the card.

Sometimes, I hear back from staff members after they receive the card. Most of the time, I don’t, and that’s okay. It is one thing I quickly learned to accept. The point of the project was to spread kindness, not be recognized for every little bit of it. Sometimes, things are just left unsaid, and all I can hope was that the card was a bright spot in that person’s day. When I do hear back, I’m often amazed at how the cards make a difference sometimes. One staff member told me it helped give her the boost she needed to face her students on the first day (she was new to teaching), and another told me she’d just had a bad day and really needed the words in that card to boost her spirits.

I am enjoying the little differences these cards are making. I enjoy putting them together for staff, and the extra time is worth it if it makes someone’s day a little brighter. They have helped pave the way for my FlucoGram project, which is coming up in September, and I’m eager to work on that with students. That update will come near the end of the month, hopefully!

Embarking Toward Kindness

This year, I have decided to try some different in how I interact with people. A fellow colleague, Tamara Letter, has inspired me with her work with kindness and her own students. I wanted to do my own work with kindness, and though I feel as though I am bumbling along, I feel like I am starting to make a difference, even if it is a small one. I’m finding my way along, so a lot of what I do is trial and error as I come up with different ideas.

My first act was designing the FlucoGram program. I have everything set to roll with this pretty much, and the school will purchase the supplies I need. Once a month during lunch shifts, students and teachers will be able to visit my table. They will be able to fill out 1 card for another teacher or student. I’ll take the cards collected and sort through them to be delivered. Teachers will also be made aware that if there is a student they know of who could use some kind thoughts to let me know and we can send a FlucoGram to them at any point in the year.

While I was designing the FlucoGram program, I also planned to really get new staff at both of my schools off on the right foot. I had already been asked by my high school principal to keep in close contact with his new teachers via email, so I decided to do the same with the new middle school teachers. However, I knew that I wanted to do more, and so ended up writing a welcome card to each new staff member. I had bought some scratch ‘n sniff stickers and put those inside as well. I placed them in each teacher’s mailbox.

What was funny was that I did hear back from those teachers. Not every teacher, of course, but some of them. They were grateful for the kind words. One teacher even told me that she was worried and doubting herself as the year started, and then she received my card and the words just spoke to her. What had seemed like just words to me made a powerful impact on her. That made me smile. Doing this is not about receiving thank yous or accolades, but it is about making others feel good, making them smile. That’s all I care about, whether they tell me about it or not.

Because of this bright start, I’m going to pick some staff members from each school every week and write them a small card. I have plenty of extras, and I want to make them smile as well. I have a list of staff from each school, so I can easily track this and try not to miss anyone. It will be a lofty goal, as I have almost 100 teachers alone at the high school. No one said it was going to be easy though.

I do have another plan for my Kindness Project, but I’m not going to share it just yet until I get it rolling at both schools. It will be in the media center, and both library media specialists have approved the idea. I just need to get things rolling with it first because I want to have some images to share as well.

I hope to have more ideas and inspiration throughout the year. I just want to try new things and make my schools a little bit brighter for the teachers and staff. It’s hard work, but it’s fun and it’s rewarding, and that’s what matters most.