Louisville, KY

Teacher inspires students to be helpful: "Making people smile lights up my world"

Amy Christie

A teacher who lives in Louisville, Kentucky, has decided to focus on showing kids how much it matters to be kind. And she didn't do it by just telling them about it.

Practicing kindness in action is a lot more effective for students, so the teacher set out to offer them a creative way to practice being helpful and supportive every day.

What are the details?

Stefany Bibb gives classes at John F. Kennedy Montessori Elementary School. Beyond the lessons she teaches her students in the classroom, Bibb felt that something more was needed.

She sought a way to instill life values and to help her students understand why being kind matters so much as they grow up.

The teacher now leads the "Kindness Crew" for the whole school. This is an initiative that gathers students for thoughtful, practical life lessons. The students who are part of the Kindness Crew are happy to hold the door for other people, they always greet teachers and fellow students on a cheerful note every morning, and they make posters with positive messages to encourage everyone to look on the bright side of things.

The teacher had the idea to focus all her students' efforts on becoming better people while concentrating on being helpful and respectful. On the other hand, their actions keep on inspiring other members of the community to be kind and gentle to each other, so the rebound effect is most welcome for everyone living close by.

Each member of the Kindness Crew has chosen a specific action as their favorite act of kindness. And they keep on giving, knowing that there is so much to be gained from empathy and compassion even without a tangible reward.

Aniyah Cox, who is a member of the group in fourth grade, shared that giving hugs is the act of kindness that gives her the most joy.

"Making people smile lights up my world, and I know it makes them feel warm inside, too," she said, according to Sunnyskyz.

"You can also spread kindness to your teacher or your loved ones when you're not even at school," the little girl added.

Holding the door for people also has a deeper meaning when it comes to helping others and feeling thankful.

"My favorite act of kindness is holding the door for other people because it shows that you care about them," John Johnson, a student who is in fifth grade, shared about his role in the Kindness Crew.

While spring break lasted, Bibb and her students created a rock garden outside the school. They had all the rainbow colors, and students could paint messages on them to spread happiness and bring a smile to anyone passing close by.

The rocks are also available for home use. A student can keep one of the rocks for up to one week before they need to return it to the unique garden. If, however, they feel that they can't part with it so soon, they can paint another one with a happy design, write something cheerful on it, and replace the stone that won't be coming back for a while.

"You can also pass your rock to your friends, making them feel happy," Aniyah explained.

The teacher is convinced that this initiative has set a strong foundation for kindness in her students' hearts and that they will pay forward what has started at Kennedy Montessori and keep adding good actions to build on this idea in the years to come.

"It feels good. It physically feels good to be kind. Nothing the students do is because of me. I simply gave them the outlet to do what they naturally do. They're naturally kind, and there's nothing I can take credit for. They are amazing for the kindness they spread," the teacher explained.

However, her students appreciate her selfless actions and realize that she's had a positive impact on their lives.

"I want to talk about Ms. Bibb. She's a wonderful person. I've had her since I came here, and she's made me feel like I belong in this school. She truly cares about me, and that's why I love her so much," Aniyah shared.

The teacher hopes their rock garden filled with good thoughts painted all around will grow every day.

"As our kindness grows, our rock garden is going to grow, too," she concluded about the wonderful initiative that gave students a purpose and so much comfort and support to the whole community.

Sources:

https://www.sunnyskyz.com/good-news/4632/Teacher-Creates-039-Kindness-Crew-039-To-Inspire-Students-To-Spread-Kindness

https://www.wdrb.com/news/education/jcps-students-teacher-create-rock-garden-as-part-of-school-wide-initiative-to-spread-kindness/article_11b5f3f8-bf53-11ec-af6b-e37842b47e5b.html

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QXzdwhcL5DM

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Amy Christie is a passionate writer and journalist, always striving to bring out the positive and create meaningful connections.

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