Encouraging Compassion

How do we encourage compassion within our day? What kind of questions might we ask that can drive our learning towards compassionate responses, better yet compassionate listening?

I have a student who comes up to me each day and gives me a hug before they enter the building. This is a student who has struggled in the past to come to school, many times refusing to make it through the doors even when they have gotten to the entrance. This year is different……

I’ve had the opportunity to talk to this student each day, to give a giant hug and to receive one in return. I’ve noticed a distinct change in their attitude, but also a distinct change in my attitude. We must be compassionate learners who care about others. We must open ourselves up to listen compassionately to work with all of our students.

I wasn’t aware of the impact I had on this student until a few weeks ago. The student came to school with an adult figure and wanted me to know how they are so grateful that I’ve come into this student’s life. The student looks forward to coming to school so that they can work with me. What’s interesting is the attitude this student has towards 3-d printing. I would never have learned this unless I was a compassionate listener.

Many times, we want to keep moving on to the next thing, to just keep pushing. We can’t have that attitude with our students. These students need compassionate listeners in their lives, they need teachers who will listen and find out their passions.

My attitude has changed this year to be a more compassionate learner. I have always thought I was a listener, but have I really listened to students before? The hugs that I get from this student every morning make my day and they’ve changed my attitude. I wanted to help this student enjoy coming to school and all I needed to do was to listen.

I listened and became involved in this student’s passion for creating. I’m grateful for these opportunities each day and grateful that I have the chance to learn alongside this student. What kind of listener will you be to a student this week?

How might you be a compassionate listener? How might you change the way a student feels about learning by involving their interests?

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