By Brandi-Lin Ebersole
School is a place we learn facts, methods, and grow our skills. When a teacher sits down to write a lesson she thinks, “how am I going to get them to understand my subject matter?”, “What tools can I use to do this?” and “How am I going to draw them in?”. One typical morning in one of my reading classes, I was quickly writing my lesson agenda on the board, when I overheard students talking about last night’s varsity soccer game. One of my students had scored a goal and others were praising him. I listened in and let them discuss a little longer.
I then turned around and explained to them why I allowed them to continue to talk, instead of rushing to my lesson. I began sharing a story of a young man named Adam who was seventeen years old just like some of them. He had his life taken from him after winning a soccer championship, all because he was trying to help someone. I explained how my friend Lara, Adam’s sister, annually takes the month of October to honor him by performing 31 days of kindness. For 31 days, Lara offers a different act of kindness each day and blogs about it; changing her horrifying memory into something redemptive. As I was finishing the story, one of the students chimed in and asked if they too could participate in the 31 days of kindness. I instantly responded, “Yes!”
So for the entire month of October, every class began with a story ranging from buying friends coffee, “just because” to babysitting children to give adults a break. It created a mood in our classroom that was a space for my students to learn a lesson that I did not plan for. It was a lesson that involved the subject of Kindness. They all commented on how good it made them feel and how they were excited to share their daily stories. During the month, my students realized their lives too could be taken in a blink of an eye and in turn wanted to thank Lara for such a great idea. So in honor of Adam, their 31st act of Kindness, was to create a video thanking her and explaining how this challenge had changed them.
Ms. Ebersole's class: Aidan O, James P, Hugh M, and Kyle T
Videography by Ebersole Photography
Brandi-Lin Ebersole is a member of Landmark High School's faculty.