Recently, we've been talking a lot about social & emotional literacy and why it's important to teach in the classroom. We found a #WeedsToSeeds story that perfectly demonstrates the power that understanding empathy can have over young students.
Karen Loewe is a 7th & 8th grade teacher in Oklahoma and she decided the perfect way to kick off the 2019 school year was with a lesson in emotional literacy. She asked her students to write the "baggage", or the painful, difficult things they carry with them, on a sheet of paper and leave that baggage at the door. These pieces of baggage were really personal - they ranged from family members with cancer to parents going through divorce to depression.
The post above shows the bag completely filled with slips of paper.
She asked her students to read through the slips of paper - and if anyone wanted to claim their "piece of baggage" they could or they could remain anonymous. The impact this had on her students and herself was incredible. Students broke down reading and listening to their fellow classmates' baggage. It was the first time they really understood that each and every one of their peers was going through their own experience.
Loewe wrote, "it was an emotionally draining day, but I firmly believe my kids will judge a little less, love a little more, and forgive a little faster."
She explained that the idea to "leave the baggage at the door" is not an invitation to deny one's experience, but rather it is a way of saying this is something I carry, but I won't let it define me - it's a way to move forward.
It's lessons like this that give kids, and people in general, that "ah-ha" moment. They experience something that changes how they see things - they become a little more patient and a little more understanding.
Thanks for reading gardeners & #PullYourWeeds!