Common Courtesies Aren’t So Common Anymore

Our school has an awesome new initiative. It started as a twitter feed (@MilerKindness) and has taken on some momentum. We are launching a kindness scavenger hunt, which I’m proud to say I helped out with. It was pretty tricky thinking of fifty ways to be kind to someone (friend, family, staff member, stranger), which I found a touch concerning for my own sake. Because of this, I’ve really tried to be extra nice and form even more kind habits in my day.

I was at the grocery store last night picking up an appetizer to take to a Grey Cup party (thank heavens the Riders won! Go green!). I was arguably in a big hurry, since I lost track of time prepping at school. However, I took time to make small talk with the cashier. I asked if she was a big football fan, and she said that she really didn’t like watching football. I responded with that a friend of mine feels the same, which is why my friend loves working Grey Cup Sunday, since it gets pretty quiet. She was down-right grumpy about it. She complained about how horrible it was to be working. Needless to say, I was pretty sorry that I’d tried to be nice.

Where this leads me back is that common courtesy and the art of small talk seems to be, well, a lost art, especially from my generation down. We are all destined for neck problems from staring at our phones, rather than taking a moment to brighten someone’s day.

I’m working at building these every-day existence skills into my classes. I took a few minutes in English to discuss email etiquette. We’ve talked about netiquette too, but I think real-life etiquette sometimes gets skipped over.

What successful ways or ideas do you have to build kindness and common courtesies in your classroom? Any suggestions? Aside from modelling positive behaviours, I’m kind of stuck! (PS. I teach mostly grade nine students)

2 thoughts on “Common Courtesies Aren’t So Common Anymore

  1. In my school, the students all stand up when an adult enters the class. They are also supposed to be quiet. The adult then usually says thank-you and asks them to sit back down.

    Students will still offer to wipe the board clean.

    Often, first period in Monday, a chance to share stories of the weekend takes place.

    Sometimes the students are allowed to listen to music as they work.

    I will usually address the students as “gentlemen” (all boys school).

    Probably other stuff too, but nothing else comes to mind.

    Tommy

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