When I walk through the crowded halls of Reed High School, I see several stereotype groups of people. I see the Jocks, the Stoners, the Goth kids, the Nerds, the LBGTQIA kids and those kids who are what we would call Loners. I fit somewhere in between the Jocks and a student who just wants to graduate from high school and begin my college career.
Caring and kindness needs to be and should be implemented at our school! Regardless of the social group you are in, we all have the need to feel wanted and be accepted. So many of us are going through tough times and just need a friend, someone to care about us.
I believe there should be something called “Just Care” lessons that are implemented in our classrooms. These lessons would be based on teaching social and emotional skills. If teachers had the permission to teach these lessons one day a week, we may be able to reach out to all students and help them be accepted and wanted. Students may actually open their minds, during this process, and begin to get out of their social clicks and feel that it’s okay to care about others, even though they are not like us.
On top of these lessons, schools should have grade level assemblies that are called “Walk the Line.” These assemblies would consist of having a line drawn down the middle of the gymnasium. Staff members and students would then be asked those really deep questions that we generally don’t ask and don’t know about people. Teachers and students would cross the line when the questions apply to them. For example, “Who is caring for a sick parent or loved one?” “Who has alcoholism in their family?” “Who has been verbally abused?” “Who lives in a 1 parent household?” If this type of activity was done, teachers and students would begin to understand that there are fellow students and staff members who have problems, just like the rest of us.
Having “Social Day” similar to speed dating, would also be a great way to implement caring at our school. Students would sit 1:1 with fellow students that they do not know and ask “get to know you” questions and talk for 5-10 minutes. Then, the timer would go off and students would rotate desks to a new person. This would give students the chance to again, get out of their clicks, and talk to people that they normally would not talk to.
My hopes for implementing this type of caring at Reed High School, or at any other school for that matter, would be to help students and teachers care for each other, show kindness and simply change our school culture.
On a personal level, caring and kindness can be implemented more in my day to day life too. I believe in smiling at people, holding doors, using manners, complimenting others and giving hugs. A simple hello or smile to someone can drastically change their mood in a positive manner.