K is for Kindness, #AtoZChallenge

Kindness is definitely not a flaw. It’s just hard to think of words that start with K. Of course there have been times when I’ve been told I’m “too nice” like that’s a bad thing. Which begs the question: Is being too nice a bad thing?

When can kindness get you in trouble?

My theme should have been “I ask readers a bunch of questions about basic personality traits people typically don’t think twice about.”

One of the biggest times this dilemma has crossed my mind has been in teaching. Many times I am told I’m too nice as a teacher and this leads to classroom management being difficult. Objectively I can see this happening, but then I also see how my students react to me. I think it’s important for children to be able to trust adults and know they are cared for. That is probably my main goal over teaching music, although I think that is super important too. When I get “firm” or “strict” I know I am being “fair”, but I don’t like the way it makes me feel. I just can’t seem to always find a balance. I don’t want to change my personality of always being kind and helpful, but sometimes I’m forced to in the classroom so things run smoothly.

I think this is my biggest doubt of whether I am a good teacher.

I love my job, but I also think it is one of the hardest jobs someone can choose. I need to find the balance between being kind and not being too passive.

Until then, I will lead with kindness. I will always try to be understanding and compassionate. I will keep an open-mind to accept people from all different walks of life. I will risk the struggles and criticism that come with being “too nice” until I find that balance. If life has taught me anything, it’s that I’m much better at dealing with my own pain than handling knowing I’ve hurt somebody else.

 

 

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12 thoughts on “K is for Kindness, #AtoZChallenge

  1. It’s funny, we picked the same K topic. I’m still struggling to finish it before midnight in my time zone but it’s almost done… There are many different kinds of kindness, and I don’t think it’s a flaw for a teacher to be nice. As long as the kids learn from you, that’s the main thing.

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  2. I so agree with you that being a teacher is one of the hardest jobs there is to do well — made even harder by under-funding and over-regulating. I’ve never been a teacher, unlike so many members of my family, but I was once a tutor in logic at a university. That was hard enough!

    It once was that one of the things that most attracted me to a woman was high intelligence. I ranked it way up there. Then I married a brilliant, but cruel and abusive woman. Afterwards, high intelligence dropped two or three places in my ranking to be replaced by kindness, and kindness again.

    At the risk of being seen by you, Serena, as “one of those intolerable men who is always offering women advice”, may I please suggest that you quit worrying about whether you’re too kind to teach well? I could be wrong, of course, but in my experience, if you just accept yourself as you are then you will eventually work out practical ways and techniques of successfully dealing with the kids even while being as kind as you are. But if instead, you try to change your personality, then you will not be focused enough on figuring out ways and techniques.

    I know. I know! “The door is on the left.” 😀

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    • I think a couple years ago I may have been persuaded that I was just doing everything wrong and needed to essentially yell more (basically what I was told in my first job placement). Now I pretty much agree with you, because I feel so uncomfortable when I’m trying to change me. I’m just working out just what those tools are to stay true to myself and also run a productive and successful classroom.

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  3. I can completely relate to this dilemma–especially in the context of teaching! I could never stop feeling compelled to give 100% of my attention to each student every time they asked, answer every question (even when there wasn’t time), and respond to their emotions even when it distracted from the lesson objectives. It’s hard to turn off what is usually a good instinct! When I was student teaching, I was told that part of my job was acting as a traffic light–no one wants to wait at a red light, but it’s what allows everyone to move forward safely. Some of the teachers I worked with were so good at telling students “You need to wait!” or “You’ll have a chance to talk later” in a respectful way that reminded them that they were part of a larger group with a goal that was bigger than any one child’s impulse… but I never mastered it! I certainly don’t think kindness is a flaw, and it’s much better to be a teacher who is too kind than one who is cold toward the students!

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    • Yea I’ve seen teachers do that and I’m just like how! You are totally describing me as a teacher. It’s hard to find that balance, at least for me. There are so many layers and challenges to teaching…and I feel like not even half of them are talked about in college. It sure has been a learning experience for me!

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  4. Interesting, I just commented on your ‘Mistakes’ post that I have trouble with mistakes that hurt others, and you came to the same conclusion at the end of this post. I tend to be very kind, and maybe sometimes ‘too kind’, but I’ve never had trouble maintaining discipline in a class because I think respect for others is a large part of kindness. I see order in a class as part of respecting the other students’ time and right to learn, so if one student is interrupting that with their behavior, I can kindly be firm in asking them to stop, rather than feeling like I’m punishing them. I suppose in some way or another I let them know that’s why they can’t do that behavior. In essence, I require them to be kind to me and to their classmates. I hope that’s not inadvertently mean!

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  5. My son began second grade with a middle aged woman who was just beginning her third year of teaching. I’d met her on her first day two years before. She was quick to yell, but by the time my son had her, she was burned out. Our October parent/teacher confrontation convinced me to request a change in class room.

    My son’s new teacher was a soft-spoken young woman in her mid-20’s, so it was probably her third year teaching as well. Because I was the PTA Treasurer, I visited the classrooms unannounced to collect membership dues. Every time I visited her class, it was a sanctuary; you could feel the love and respect the kids had for her and each other, and she had for them. Miss Lee might be sitting at a round table with children who read out loud one at a time, while a second group sat at their desks doing seat work, and the third group were exploring the art and science stations. Whenever the volume rose above a workable level, she rang a hand bell, and they immediately lowered their voices. Sometimes there was an aide, but as often as not, she was the only adult in the room.

    She never raised her voice and was the most effective teacher I’d seen in years.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for sharing you experience. It just doesn’t feel like me to yell and I couldn’t understand how my first school was telling me I needed to. I can’t remember a time it felt good to get yelled at by a teacher and I would never want a student to feel that way because of me.

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