As a former kindergarten teacher, I must say I am a big Pinterest fan. When I was looking up ideas for classroom inspirational sayings and quotes, a recurring saying kept coming up, “Be the reason someone smiles today.” What does this look like in a classroom? Why is this important? And how in the world does this make connections to the Women’s Conference I attended earlier this week?
Throughout my time in the classroom and observing other teachers, I have seen examples of being “the reason someone smiles today.” It can be as simple as an actual smile, a kind gesture, kids offering to help one another, hugging a child if they are having a rough day, and most importantly, listening to our students in our classrooms. It is these small gestures that are powerful and create an overall nurturing classroom environment.
This really got me thinking. What are the effects that this can have on a classroom environment? I would like to narrow this down even further and focus on the effects a “smiling” classroom environment can have on student learning. Environment is an essential tool to a child’s success, growth, behavior, and love of learning. Research shows that a classroom environment is one of the most important factors affecting student learning. Simply put, students learn better when they view the learning environment as positive and supportive.
We have all seen the factors that can threaten a positive classroom environment, such as negative home environment, lack of motivation, pressures from testing, and more. What can teachers do to help children in these circumstances? We can try to “be the reason someone smiles today,” but how? Let me give an example.
This past week, I had the privilege of attending the 2017 Women’s Conference in Fresno, CA. Jean Steel was a speaker at the conference. She spoke about her research on how to reduce stress, make a difference in ourselves, our community, our world – and even be happier. She spoke of rediscovering our attitude of gratitude, recognize the power within, and leave with a list of changes we can do to make the world a better place. And BOOM! Right here, MIND BLOWN! Can you see the connection?
We, as educators have the ability to do this for all of our children. We can encourage our students to make a difference in themselves, to the community, and to the world. We can show them the power they have. “Power is knowledge” and therefore; “Knowledge is Power”.
So, my big outlook on all of this: If we consider ways to “be the reason someone smiles today,” either with a kind gesture or hug, we can make a person smile and feel better; therefore, making a positive impact on a person’s day. If an entire classroom feels supported, they are more likely to enjoy learning. If they are enjoying learning, then they are growing more knowledgeable and becoming powerful for themselves, their communities, and the world. Once the kids recognize how powerful they can be, they develop insightful ideas that can help to change their communities and world. Growing knowledgeable will help solve small and large problems a child will discover throughout their educational career. They can make a difference, and they can help others to do the same. The classroom is a great place to put this into action.