Hi, I’m Desiree from SLPTalk and I am so honored that Claudia invited me to participate in The Kindness Project. Choosing kind is a topic near and dear to my heart and if you are reading this, I am guessing it is meaningful to you too. Today I am going to share with you a few ways that I choose kind with my students and their families but before I do, please know that the biggest impact you can make is by modeling kindness. Simply BE kind. The rest, my friends, is gravy.
With that said, here is the recipe for some kindness gravy. 😉 One way that I like to sprinkle some kindness is by making my space one that welcomes my students and their families. I am blessed this year to have an ideal work space for my students to flourish; however, even if you do not, there are simple ways that you can welcome students and families into your room.
My school has a high population of families that speak Spanish as their primary language. When designing my door, it was important to me that my students and families know that they are welcome and that I value their input. I also wanted my little friends that were minimally verbal or just learning to read know that their voice matters as well. It may sound menial. After all it is just a door, right? However, that first impression, that simple touch of kindness, helps set the stage for collaboration with my families and students. We are a team and within that team every player is valued.
I respect the time that my families give to support their children. For some family members, school may not be a place that is within their comfort zone. Some may have struggled with school or not completed it. Others may be new to our country, trying to learn what school is like in the American culture. Some may have just completed a shift working all night or juggle multiple jobs to help make ends meet.
I have had times myself when I have dropped the ball as a parent, accidentally missing an appointment. While I didn’t purposely drop the ball, it got lost in the sea of balls within the ball pit of my life at the moment. Sending these friendly reminders home may give parents the heads up that they need. Yes, we call, write, send letters, you name it. Throw some candy in there though and you know the kids are passing that one along in hopes of it being shared. 🙂
Once parents and team members arrive at the meeting, I like to have water bottles that they can have, again thanking them for their participation. I know what you are thinking. How do you have the time to do that each meeting? Quite simply, I don’t. I purchase a 24-32 pack of water bottles at the beginning of the year and prep them ahead of time so I can just grab a few at a time. They last for quite a while. I have also seen teachers use them to thank parents for volunteering, chaperoning a field trip, etc. It is a simple gesture of thanks that goes a long way. You can find the meeting reminders and bottle wrappers in my Kindess Matters freebie.
Bio: Desiree Rusch-Winterbottom, M.A. CCC-SLP is a school based speech-language pathologist in Ohio. She is also the author of SLPTalk with Desiree where she shares hands-on and DIY activities on her blog and in her store.
Desiree Winterbottom, M.A. CCC-SLP
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