Chapter 10 – Kelly Pace
Who inspires you to be kind?
I grew up knowing I should be kind. My mom used to have a sign in her room that said, “It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice.” It was something that was just expected, not something that was necessarily taught. So, my mom definitely inspires me to be kind. She is one of the kindest people I know.
My students also inspire me to be kind. There are days that I marvel at the choices they make. Recently, one student brought in breakfast for my entire A1 class. I witness kind actions regularly. They are the ones who inspire me to continue to be good.
Describe a turning point of kindness in your classroom:
One year I witnessed some unkind behavior in my classroom. It was small things, like leaving other students out of a group, but it began to eat at me. I decided I wanted to do something about it. I went into class and told them we were going to be 1% better than the day before. I told them that if they lived that way, they would be thirty-seven times better by the end of a year. I asked my students to take out a sheet of paper, write something kind, something nice about the person whose paper they had in front of them. They continued to write and pass those papers until the end when they had their paper in front of them. It was a turning point in my classroom that year for both me and my students. Students began to be more inclusive and more kind. It was perhaps the most powerful class I have ever taught. I continue to spread that message of living 1% better in future classes.
What’s an example of kindness you’ve received?
Last year, I came home from dropping my daughter off at dance rehearsal, and five students were standing in my driveway. They had a card signed by the whole class and an edible arrangement that they had made. It was a Mother’s Day present because my students thought enough to call me “mom.”
My second favorite example of kindness I received came from three boys who handcrafted a podium for me with a letter they had written. They were not woodworking students and had never actually built anything with their hands. It’s a beautiful reminder of how kind those three students always were in my class.
Kindness was also given to me in handwritten notes. I have an entire box of them that students have written me. There’s nothing more personal and more inspiring than a student telling you that you’ve changed or helped or inspired them.
Connect with Kelly:
Kelly’s Favorite Kindness Quote