49 Ways to Create a Tidal Wave of Kindness in School

“Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.” —Scott Adams

November 13th is World Kindness Day. What better way to celebrate than with the people with whom we share most of our waking hours? We all know the profound influence our everyday actions and attitudes can have on our students and coworkers. When you toss a pebble into a pond, the ripples spread from the point of impact to the very edges of the whole. With that in mind, what if we made a vow to create as many ripples of kindness in school as we could? We can create a tidal wave in our schools and in our lives by simply focusing on acts of kindness. Here are 49 of our best ideas to help you get started.

Be kind to your students.

1. Acknowledge each student with a greeting as they enter your room. Let them see how happy you are to see them.

2. Allow your students five minutes to just have a friendly visit with one another.

3. Laugh at your students’ jokes.

4. Compliment your students for their awesome ideas, incredible word choice, stupendous mathematical skills, etc.

5. Put up a mailbox for students to deposit “kindness reports” about their classmates.

6. Publicly acknowledge every kindness you witness in your classroom.

7. Post students’ beautiful work everywhere!

8. Stay with your class during library time and help them pick out great books.

9. Ask your students questions about their time away from school.

10. Repeat it one more time (yes, even if it’s the fifth time!).

11. Give your grouchy voice the day off.

12. Take time to listen to their stories. (We know. They have lots of stories!)

13. Raffle off a free homework pass.

14. Compliment another teacher’s class as they walk through the hall quietly.

15. Don’t rush them. 

Be kind to your teammates.

16. Stop at the coffee shop on your way to school and surprise your teammates with their favorite beverage.

17. Give your teammates a recap of the awesome workshop you attended. 

18. Take a break from work talk at lunch time.

19. Offer to take your stressed-out teammate’s after-school duty.

20. Tell one of your teammates about the awesome new read aloud you discovered. Better yet, lend them the book.

21. Help a teammate carry a heavy load to their car.

22. Offer to help a teammate change their bulletin board.

23. Anonymously leave chocolates on your teammates’ desks.

24. Take a shift with one of a teammate’s more challenging students.

25. Bring in leftover desserts from home to share. 

Be kind to your administrators and office staff.

26. Thank your administrators for setting a positive tone in the building.

27. Keep eye rolling to a minimum during your professional development meeting.

28. Have your students decorate and sign a thank-you poster for everyone in the front office.

29. Invite your principal or assistant principal to a special event in your classroom, such as a readers’ theater performance or class party. 

30. Send your students to the office for positive reasons, like to share a wonderful story or to show a perfect score on a math test. 

Be kind to your whole school community. 

31. Resist the temptation to “borrow” the unlabeled Diet Coke in the staff refrigerator.

32. If you jack up the copier, don’t leave it that way!

33. Forward funny teacher cartoons to the staff.

34. Ask the newbie teacher for advice.

35. Sit with someone different at the staff meeting.

36. Eat hot lunch every once in a while and tell the cafeteria workers how delicious the food is.

37. Put up inspirational or humorous posters in the staff bathrooms.

38. Straighten up the mess someone else left in the teacher workroom.

Be kind to parents and families.

39. Call a few parents after school just to tell them something wonderful their child did that day.

40. Tell your parent volunteers what lifesavers they are.

41. Email a happy note home to one of your more difficult student’s family.

42. Invite family members to join you in class for special events.

43. Even though you have loads to do, linger at the classroom door at pickup time just to be social. 

Just be kind!

44. Slow down!

45. Make eye contact.

46. Smile!

47. Listen.

48. Offer sincere compliments.

49. Be present.

What acts of kindness would you add to the list? Come share in our WeAreTeachers HELPLINEon Facebook.

Also, check out 10 Ways Teachers Can Foster Kindness and a Spirit of Giving Back During the Holiday Season.

Posted by Elizabeth Mulvahill

Elizabeth Mulvahill is a passionate teacher, writer and mom who loves learning new things, traveling the globe and everything Zen.

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