49 Ways to Create a Tidal Wave of Kindness in Schools

Instead of preventing bullying, let’s talk about kindness.

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

October is National Bullying Prevention Month. But what if, instead of focusing on anti-bullying, we focused on kindness? We all know the profound influence our everyday actions and attitudes can have on our students. 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 as we can to create a tidal wave in our schools and in our lives by simply focusing on acts of kindness?

Here are 49 ideas to help you get started:

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

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

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

  4. Give your students five minutes to just visit with one another.

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

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

  7. Slow down!

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

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

  10. Leave anonymous chocolate kisses in the staff mailboxes.

  11. Eat lunch with your team and take a break from “work talk.”

  12. Make eye contact.

  13. Pick up your kids from Art a few minutes early and admire their work.

  14. Pick up your kids from PE a few minutes early and join in the game.

  15. Pick up your kids from Music a few minutes early and enjoy their performance.

  16. Share an awesome read-aloud with another teacher, better yet- lend them the book.

  17. Forward funny teacher cartoons to the staff.

  18. Laugh at your students’ jokes.

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

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

  21. Offer to take a stressed-out teacher’s after school duty.

  22. Email a “happy note” home to one of your more difficult student’s families.

  23. Have your students decorate and sign a thank you poster for the front office staff/cafeteria staff/custodial staff.

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

  25. Replace the paper in the copier before it runs out.

  26. Tell your parent volunteers what lifesavers they are.

  27. Acknowledge publicly every kindness you witness in your classroom.

  28. Smile!

  29. Invite the guest teacher to join you for lunch.

  30. Post students’ work everywhere!

  31. Ask a veteran teacher to share their wisdom with you about something that’s been baffling you.

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

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

  34. Compliment another teacher in front of his class.

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

  36. Listen to the librarian’s read-aloud and tell her what a great storyteller she is.

  37. Eat hot lunch every once in awhile and tell the cafeteria workers how delicious the food is.

  38. Take time to listen to your students’ stories.

  39. Help another teacher change his bulletin board.

  40. If a positive thought about someone crosses your mind, take the time to share it with them!

  41. Raffle off a free homework pass.

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

  43. Share a sweet moment from your day with a colleague.

  44. Give your grouchy voice the day off.

  45. Ask a newbie teacher for advice.

  46. Sit with someone different at the staff meeting.

  47. Make a big deal about extraordinary effort in class.

  48. Help another teacher carry a heavy load to their car.

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

What acts of kindness would you add to the list?

49 Ways to Spread Kindness in Your School

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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