Permission to be Nice
One of the things the world is lacking is a little kindness. A teacher at Towson Senior High School in Baltimore County Maryland thought it might be a good project for her students to spread some kindness. She asked each one of them to do something kind or nice for someone else. Students did not have to participate but most of them did. The kids had a month to perform three acts of kindness toward someone else. They could choose whatever acts they wanted to do. Some kids baked cookies for a school staff member they thought was less appreciated. Some things were pretty simple and obvious like helping an elderly person retrieve some items from an upper shelf in the grocery store. One student visited someone in hospice care. Someone else complimented five people for something during the course of the school day. For some of the students these activities were way out of their comfort zones. For others, not so much.
Okay, so far this is just sweet story about kids having a positive experience. Now comes the weird thing. Teaching kids to be kind is NOT part of the Baltimore County Curriculum! Imagine that! So in order to do this project, the teacher had to request permission in writing of the central office administration. Evidently the situation has come down to asking permission to teach kids something the world needs so much more of, when we should be teaching them stuff that they will never use again once they pass the test. Every single employer study reports that employees need to be better at working together with diverse groups. I am betting being kind to co-workers and customers would be a good thing as well.
Here is the other rub. Only Honors students and Advanced Placement students were allowed to participate. What is the message here, not so smart kids don’t have time to be kind? Or maybe they don’t have any interest in being kind? Since these events occurred outside of class time what was the big deal?
The teacher said that next year she hoped to expand the project. Hope she gets that request in in triplicate and gets it in early. We need special permission from administration to teach something the kids really need.