A Kindness Calendar

Tania Sheko shared a “Kindness Calendar” yesterday in the CLMOOC Facebook group, and she posed the question as to how CLMOOCers might hack the idea.

One idea that occurred to me: use this calendar as a guide or jumping-off point to making a commitment toward one act of kindness or praise to a different student, classmate, or colleague each day.

Those of us in classroom contexts might also ask our students to re-interpret the calendar for their own lives.

This calendar reminds me that I could improve some of my practices by systematizing and documenting them more effectively. That is to say, I make an effort every day to interact with students and provide positive feedback, but do I provide this feedback equally? Even if I do, I have no way of knowing because I do not always document these interactions.

This is not to say that acts of kindness should be audited, or that I should create some sort of arcane, complicated accounting system that will distract me from more important priorities (like interacting with students!). However, something simple, like a calendar, might be an excellent way of keeping track of kindness by reminding myself, at least once a day, that I need to interact equally with everyone. Revisiting such a calendar as part of my daily routine can keep my focus on equal interaction for the day; if the morning goes badly and I run out of time, checking in with the calendar later in the day can get me back on track.

The calendar idea could also help me to improve at creating positive interactions with my colleagues. I have close relationships with about a dozen or so colleagues, and I try to be pleasant to everyone – but I’m also sure that I can be more intentional about showing kindness to everyone. I can write thank-you notes more often, for example, or make an effort to praise or otherwise be kind to colleagues whom I typically have less interaction with.

What do other CLMOOC folk think about this calendar?


6 thoughts on “A Kindness Calendar

  1. I am also thinking about how our students might interpret this calendar and the simple acts of kindness, but for some reason I hadn’t thought about it in the context of colleagues! Although such calendars and posters abound, and can often seem trite because of the commercial context of similar things – greeting cards with their predetermined messages – the acts of kindness can serve as reminders, or as you say, if the morning goes badly, you could revisit the calendar to remind yourself that you can still do positive things.

    I’m a little apprehensive about introducing it to my form which comprises of 30 17-18 year old boys in case they are turned off by it, but I also want to support them in their emotional wellbeing throughout a year which is focused on academic achievement. I hope to remind them that they are more than the sum of their results, and that they can make a difference to each other regularly in small ways.

    1. I think it’s fantastic that you’re focusing on students’ emotional well-being! I wonder if it would make sense to try out the calendar ourselves first before introducing it to students? I’m thinking of the idea in writing instruction that the teacher should write an essay (or whatever assignment) before assigning it to students.

      Do you have a new group of students at the New Year, or do you continue with the same group as in the fall?

  2. I appreciate the ideas for remembering to be kind in words and actions. Jeffrey’s comment has me wondering, too, if there are ways to use the calendar for calls for kindness in CLMOOC

  3. I’m going to start next week (when school resumes) by using a blank calendar to document the praise I give to students. I’ll share whatever I create at the end of the week. 🙂

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