celebrate kindness

Posts Tagged ‘School

The transition between summer break and the start of school has come and gone and I am finally catching my breath to blog.  WOW – what an amazing time it has been!  It’s always so inspiring for me when I see kindness in others – I often wish I could screen capture my moments and post instantaneously to share the joy!  Here are a few excerpts of the kindness that has been shared around me the past two weeks:


Photo Aug 27, 12 41 59 PM

At our very first faculty meeting of the school year, I was presented with the WOW book.  This is a new journal we are passing around to co-workers in our school who inspire us in a variety of ways.  We write an entry inside the book about why we think that person is special, then we pay it forward to that person so that they can recognize the next WOW member of our school. There is even a special page inside the front cover dedicated to Renee Parr, the first grade teacher who passed away this summer.

When I was called to receive the book, I was humbled beyond words – one of the few times I could barely speak!  Even writing this I am awed that someone would find me worthy of this honor.  WOW indeed!

Photo Aug 27, 1 08 26 PM

One of the highlights of Teacher Work Week is the freedom to choose our own lunch time and eat wherever we want.  (No cafeteria food, no frozen lunches for the microwave!)  I was delighted to find a coupon for a FREE grilled chicken sandwich – thank you Chick-fil-A for remembering teachers and sharing in kindness!

As I approached the local restaurant, I could tell lots of other teachers were enjoying their free sandwiches, too, because the drive-thru line was wrapped around the lot!  I decided to park my car and go inside to place my order.  I entered the double doors and saw the line was just as long inside the building. Suddenly the person in front of me turned around and said, “Would you like to go in front of us?  We’re still waiting for our friends.”  How kind! Within moments I was facing the cashier, placing my order.

Now this alone would be a wonderful RAK, but it gets EVEN better!  As I’m standing there contemplating fries vs. salad, I hear a voice over my shoulder saying, “I’m buying her lunch.”  I turn around and there is our school’s P.E. teacher, Barry,  standing behind me.  “What?” I question, still trying to process the fact that I’m getting RAK’d back.  “Your lunch.  I’m buying it.”  I started to protest, and he looked me square in the eyes, using my own words against me: “Don’t deny my the joy in doing a Random Act of Kindness…” All I could do was give him a hug and say thank you, humbled once again.

Getting RAK'd back by Barry

Getting RAK’d back by Barry

Our cashier thought it was great!

Our cashier thought it was great!

Then I paid it forward by purchasing a cookie for another teacher in my school (which I placed on her lunchbox when she left her classroom, totally forgetting to take a picture!)

Photo Aug 27, 10 30 31 AM

I came to work one day and found this adorable sticky-note pad on my desk, in the shape of an iPhone, with a cute note on top saying, “iHope you have a great year!”  I sent an email to my faculty thanking whomever left the surprise, but the RAK giver still remains a mystery.  Hopefully they will read this blog and know how much I loved this gift – oh, how it brightened my morning! (And little do they know, but I adore school supplies!  The results of being a teacher!)

Following this RAK, I paid it forward by blessing my son’s teacher with an item off her classroom wish list:

Photo Sep 01, 7 54 39 PM


At my first team meeting of the school year, this cute little guy below was introduced as the “Hedgehog of Happiness”.  One of my teammates said, “Give this to Tamara – it needs to be on her desk!”  Oh my gosh, what fun!  He made me smile all day!  I wish everyone had a “Hedgehog of Happiness” to remind them of the joy found in simple things.

Photo Aug 29, 9 46 56 AM

I paid it forward by sending surprises to my children’s teachers and writing a note in my son’s lunchbox.

Photo Sep 06, 10 06 58 AM

Photo Sep 01, 8 55 36 PM

During the first week of school, I received two RAKs – one was a sweet gift from a kindergartner whose mom used to teach across from me when I was a classroom teacher at another school.  Pumpkin Cheesecake handsoap – oh my graciousness, what a wonderful scent!  It reminds me of fall and cooler weather.  Hand washing is VERY important in our line of work, so now I can stay germ-free while pampering myself a bit at the same time.

The other gift I received was a personalized clipboard from our school’s PTA. How thoughtful!  Even though I’m a technologist, I still carry a clipboard in my laptop bag which holds important documents, sign-in sheets, and my to-do list.  Now I have a fancy clipboard to replace the boring brown one I’ve been using for years!

Photo Sep 03, 8 14 10 AM

As my first week back to school round the corner towards the weekend, I realized I had missed all my favorite exercise classes (Zumba and Body Pump.)  For me, that’s the greatest challenge of the school year – trying to meet everyone’s needs and interests while still carving out time for my own. My Zumba instructor, Toni, invited me to meet her for a salsa lesson one night (dancing, not the dip, lol) and I finally made it out.  Oh my goodness, THIS was such a fun way to end my first week back at work!  Our instructor, Boris, was AMAZING and despite feeling a bit uncoordinated at times, he provided an hour long mental break filled with laughter and learning (that alone was a RAK for me!)

Then as our lesson ended and I pulled out my wallet to pay, Toni reached across me and said, “Oh no, this is my RAK for YOU!  Thanks for coming out and dancing tonight!”

(We forgot to take a picture together, so here’s photo of my dancing shoes instead, lol.)

Photo Sep 06, 9 33 14 AM

Could this week get ANY better?  I smiled all the way home!  I also paid it forward by covering the toll money for the person behind me on the highway. 🙂

I hope you’ve enjoyed my summaries of kindness shared by others in my world – I can’t wait to do more RAKs soon!  A little bit of kindness goes a long, long way… who can YOU bless with a little bit of joy this week?

Thanks for reading!

Photo Aug 27, 6 49 50 PM

Our household has been a whirlwind!  MANY households have been a whirlwind.  It’s the week before the first week of school, which means it’s the official last week of summer break.  For me,  it’s also the first week of transition from mom mode to work mode.

It’s interesting playing a dual role of parent and teacher for a public school system.  As an educator, I get excited to go back to school… the anticipation of seeing all the sweet kiddos from years past creates a giddiness in my heart I can hardly contain.  As a parent, however, my joy is not quite so evident.  I look at the long list of items on the school supply lists for all my children, search the house for my checkbook to pay all the various school fees, carve time in my schedule to acquire school clothes for my kids… yeah, the parental role of education is not always as joyful as the educator role for sure, and this time of year makes it seem like it’s all about money going out of my pocket faster than it goes in.

I read an article this summer that made me ponder this whole concept of buying school supplies at the start of the new year.  Several friends on FB posted their thoughts in the comment section and I saw the article being shared around my social circles. Interestingly, it continued to pop up on my news feed by people I didn’t know, connected by comments of mutual friends.  I read respectable feedback from those who agreed and disagreed; I also read comments that were downright hateful, selfish, and mean.  I even saw one posting that received dozens of responses debating the values and costs of homeschool versus public school.


What a wonderful world we live in to have the freedom to debate whatever we like in a civilized manner.  Seriously!  We are so blessed! Even though I did not agree with all the perspectives shared about this specific article, I am thankful I am in a country where I don’t have to fear my safety for sharing my thoughts and opinions.

I remember the years I spent as an elementary classroom teacher.  I remember the hours I would spend trying to create a loving, nurturing, happy space for 25 children to learn and grow.  I remember the ink cartridges that would grow empty from all the printing I would do from home… the laminating film that somehow always got caught under my sofa as I cut out nametags and posters late at night on my living room floor… the stacks of binders and books strewn across my kitchen as I tried to plan out my first week of lessons and activities.  All before I was actually “back to work.”

I did ALL these things with love.  LOVE!  I loved being a teacher!  I considered my position a privilege to shape and guide children, helping them recognize the potential they had within themselves to succeed.  It was an honor, and I took it VERY seriously.

I guess that’s why this article struck a nerve with me.  It seems like it’s about the petty discussion about how many markers to buy for a teacher when in fact it simply illustrates truth.  Teachers spend hundreds, if not thousands, of their own personal dollars to do their job.  There – I said it.  Truth.  (And if you want to debate that issue of truth, you can schedule a coffee date with my husband and he can show you the Visa bills from years past as proof.)

Yes, I know other teachers may have spent more money than me.  I also know other teachers that are single parents, not to mention the cost of being a homeschooling mom. Parents are out of work.  Or work two jobs.  Or have many more children then me.  Parents versus teachers; money, money money.

Call me naive, but I don’t think the heart of this article is about money – I think it’s more about a selfish attitude.  For every school supply you choose not to purchase for my classroom, I ended up buying with my own money.  Do you know how many cheap glue sticks run dry by December?  I never sent notes home asking for more supplies throughout the school year; I bought them myself with my own hard-earned money. For ALL my students.  Not one.  Not two.  All twenty-five.  I continued to meet my students’ material needs for instruction long after the wave of school supplies had disappeared.

Over the years, I learned valuable lessons about school supplies.  Quality matters.  Ticonderoga pencils will always last longer because the wood doesn’t splinter like the cheaper brands when sharpened in the metal pencil sharpeners still bolted to classroom walls.  Crayola crayons will always be easier for children to use for coloring, because they contain less wax than cheaper brands and won’t break in half when a kindergartener holds it in a tight grip, pressing down.  Expo markers for the whiteboard have a value rating close to gold.

For me, and I can only speak to myself, I take careful consideration when purchasing school supplies for my children.  I know the teacher listed a specific brand beside the item because he/she learned from personal experience that quality matters and they want the best educational experience for my child.  They don’t want me to have to deal with a frustrated child who couldn’t keep their pencil from working right the whole day.

We all have our own priority list when it comes to preparing our child for school and I am not judging a single person out their for the choices they make.  I am also not advocating you spend money you can’t afford to spend.  If you are on a fixed income, please know that I don’t turn my eyes at you when I see lower quality supplies.  That is not the point of this blog post.  I’m simply taking a moment to share MY thoughts on a subject that I understand well from BOTH sides of the fence.  I know it’s expensive.  I know it seems like a lot of “stuff” to by for a “free” education.  I absolutely understand the frustration.

But then I come back to love.

As a parent, I do what I can, in the best way I can, to make sure my children’s needs are met – whether they are basic needs such as food, clothing, shelter, or other needs such as school supplies.  I will gladly, with a joyful heart, sacrifice a restaurant dinner with my family to have a little extra money to purchase the items requested by my child’s teachers.  I’m not going to debate the teacher’s request;  I’m not going to argue the point.  I’m going to do in my heart what I feel is best for my child’s educational experience.

This is why I give.  I feel it’s important to share love with one another no matter how that love is shown.

So this year, as I do every year, I grabbed the value pack of Expo markers with JOY!  I added a few extra supplies in the bag JUST BECAUSE!  And I already mapped out a plan to bless my children’s teachers with little surprises throughout the year to remind them how much I appreciate all they do.

Last night was a big night for my kiddos as they were finally told who would be their teacher for the next school year.  I was just as excited!  Such anticipation!  As we walked into each of their new classrooms, I knew it was going to be a great year.  Their teachers were smiling.  Friendly.  Welcoming.  The classrooms were bright.  Clean.  Inviting.  And my children’s desks held treasures galore.

Photo Aug 28, 3 43 30 PM

Photo Aug 28, 5 16 36 PM

As we enter a new school year, let’s not get caught up in the pettiness of bickering the non-essential issues of the day.  Let us learn how to love and support ALL the educators out there and work together to raise up the next generation of leaders.  After all, we’re in this together!

Be blessed and take time to thank a teacher today!



This has been such a fun week.  I’ve done several little RAKs here and there, but haven’t had a speck of time to write about them!  Now that I’ve completed my #26 acts mission and my 40 for 40 RAKs, it’s really nice to just be able to DO a RAK without any planning or thinking ahead!

As many of you know, we like to visit the Krispy Kreme store when report cards come out because Krispy Kreme is AWESOME about giving one free doughnut for each A you receive on your report card.  Monday night after dinner we made a quick drive across town (oxymoron), and reaped the rewards.



You have never seen such joy as watching a little person pick out their favorite doughnut to eat from the display case!

Since Krispy Kreme only gives out free glazed doughnuts for report cards, we always allow the kids to pick their favorite doughnut out as well.  Such joy!  This evening, as everyone was making their selections, we purchased a few extra doughnuts as well (Rich’s idea) – some for Rich’s running team and some for the teachers at my school.

photo 3

The next morning, Rich delivered his donuts to his pals and I delivered mine.  I left them in our teacher’s lounge with a little note attached to the box.

photo 2

photo 1A closer view of the note

It wasn’t much to give, and for those teachers who are dieting it may have made their day even worse, lol, but it was still a fun RAK to do on the first really cold day of Fall!

Be inspired!  More RAKs to come soon!

Back to school! If you have a child between the ages of 5 and 18, then you know the energy that bubbles over from going back to school. For teachers, it’s the same! Excitement, anticipation, maybe even some anxiousness, awaiting that moment when classroom doors open and children file through.

We have several new teachers at our school this year. Being a new teacher (or a teacher who transferred to a new school), there’s even more emotions for the first day of school as EVERYTHING is new! To make the first day a little sweeter for these teachers, I placed the following note in their school mailbox:


A little bit of chocolate always makes the day better, right?


I hope this upcoming school year is filled with peace and joy for you and your family. Be blessed and celebrate the little things in life! 🙂

Tags: , , ,

Follow celebrate kindness on WordPress.com

Blog Stats

  • 51,738 hits

No Instagram images were found.

%d bloggers like this: