February 14, 2016 by Dr. Robbie Barber
During January’s faculty meeting at our middle school, February, the counselors declared, will be Kindness month. They are organizing teachers and students to do various acts of kindness and advertising them. For example, the Literacy Coach / Gymnastics Coach was taking the Gymnastics team to a nursing home. They have many examples in and out of the building. They talked about teachers giving each other notes saying how much they appreciated each other – but not those cards every third grader buys to give to every other third grader. Just a note saying how much you helped/matter/care.
Now, like any experienced teacher, I occasionally get ill. And more often than not, I work through that cold experience. But last Tuesday defeated me. I sat in the drug store waiting for the pile of prescriptions and saw the Valentine’s Day displays. I’m sure I was in my right mind when I decided that buying 4 boxes of children’s Valentine’s Day cards was a good idea. Some came with tattoos, some with stickers, all of them were silly.
The next day I armed myself with a list of teachers and administrators, boxes of cards and a friend helping. I simply wrote from “Barber”. I wrote the adult’s name and only 3 or 4 wrote an extra line of thanks. Mostly, I wrote my name, their name, put the tattoo inside, folded it and sealed with the sticker. That’s it. My friend helped and on Thursday she put them in the mailboxes for me.
Friday was a teacher professional development day and loads of people were in and out of the building. But at least two teachers I rarely see, hugged me and thanked me for their Valentine’s card. I saw it taped to computer monitors. I received text messages and emails thanking me for the card. Really, it was only a small act. But I’m going to consciously thank my teachers more often. They need to hear it.