December is a stressful time for teachers, administrators, students, and parents, and support staff. It’s a time when people sometimes act out of character, and unexpected, unpredictable behaviour is on the rise. In Self-Reg terms, I’d say there’s a lot of stress behaviour happening. Sometimes I wish we could all walk around covered with Post-its with our stressors for others to see. It sure as heck would make us all a bit more empathetic toward each other.
Imagine, there’s Bob: worried about his bills this month, having trouble with chronic headaches, not getting enough sleep, worried about his mom in the nursing home, didn’t have time to iron his shirt that morning. If I knew all that, I’d probably think twice about ranting about him leaving the photocopier with a paper jam.
Honestly, I’m feeling a little inspired this month by the good things I see happening at school. Several classes in our school have started different “Random Acts of Kindness” activities. Our administrative team even gave everyone a coffee and a chocolate bar. In Kindergarten, we’ve begun a countdown to Christmas that has a student-generated list of random acts of kindness. Mind you, they’re not big acts. “Tell the bus driver we love him” was one. “Sing Jingle Bells to the Grade Fives” was another. Each one is simple and sweet. No preparation required.
A quote from Anne Frank says, “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”
Little things are often underestimated this time of year. We’re all about the big gifts, the big events, the big trees, the big celebrations. Probably why our stress loads are heavier.
Little acts of kindness, however, don’t add much to our stress load.
A smile, a quick word of appreciation, holding the door for someone, letting a car pull out in front of you — these are all small things.
And they make us feel good.
So this week, I’m going to try to stay focused on enjoying the little things, and let a lot of the little things that might bother me stay little.
There are 26 little hearts and minds in Kindergarten that are watching how I’m going to respond to December stress. I’m going to try to show them that it’s the little things we do that reduce our stress load.
And I’m also going to cut myself a little slack and leave the big things for January.
Who’s with me?
Dedicated teacher for the past 15 years. Lifelong learner. Newbie blogger. Follow me on Twitter @Baker1973Cathy