Being neighborly costs nothing, but its value is beyond calculation. As I headed to the land of “Snowmegaddon” this past week to help my daughter with our 9-month old granddaughter, I witnessed many acts of random kindness as neighbors shoveled sidewalks and strangers gave up their airplane seats so parents & children could sit together. When we set aside the state-mandated tests and requirements and all of the other “no-fun” education stuff, isn’t this concept of “being neighborly” one of the most important schoolwide goals–for local educators to be a part of the community which teaches our Oklahoma students to be”neighborly?”
So what exactly does being neighborly mean in education? Well, the papers were speckled with stories this week of teens making a community impact and thinking outside the box to help others, but, to me, it is more on a personal level: watching students offer to help a friend with homework, inviting them to the lunch table or welcoming them as a part of a playground group or pick-up team. Those random acts of kindness don’t just happen; they are modeled by watching you–the teacher or administrator–in your interpersonal interactions. Many times we get so busy with lesson plans, classroom management and evaluations we forget that on many days, we may be the only good role model for some (and many times the majority) of your students. Never underestimate your influence. It is tremendous!January can be one of the longest months; thankfully, though, it is almost over. But please never forget how important your job as an Oklahoma educator is to your community as a whole.