There are so many people going above and beyond for others right now that it’s hard to choose who to focus on first. As the end of the school year is approaching and teachers have worked harder than ever during remote learning, it seemed like a good time to tell stories about local teachers who are showing kindness in action. The stories about these teachers have one thing in common. They all go “above and beyond.”
I hope these stories show how much all teachers care (not just the one I wrote about) and encourage you to go above and beyond in your own life, too. For the record, all my own teachers are amazing but I didn’t want to choose only teachers I have, so please don’t feel left out if you weren’t included!
Abbot Downing School
Mrs. Polanec: Mrs. Polanec teaches 5th grade at Abbot Downing School. Her classroom is full of pictures and stuffed animals of her favorite animal. Skunks! A skunk isn’t exactly a cuddly or friendly animal but Mrs. Polanec makes her students believe that skunks are amazing because she’s amazing! My younger sister Clara had Mrs. Polanec in 5th grade and I’ve never heard her talk about a teacher the way she did about Mrs Polanec. Clara reports: “Mrs. Polanec made 5th grade one of the best years of my life. She got me through so much and she was my favorite teacher I ever had. She made me want to go to school every day, because she cared about me and she was motivating and fun and I never wanted 5th grade to end.” Ava DeLuca also had Mrs. Polanec for 5th grade and says: “She’s an amazing teacher because she’s energetic, understanding and fun.” Both Ava and Clara agree that Mrs. Polanec makes everyone in her classes feel special and cared for every day!
Rundlett Middle School
Mrs. Bartlett and Ms. Barrett: Ms. Barrett and Mrs. Bartlett are both a part of cluster 6-5 at RMS. If you ask any student who has ever been on 6-5 at RMS they’ll tell you about how kind, fun, goofy, energetic, and amazing Mrs. Bartlett is. She’s a math/ science teacher and a track, cross country and Nordic coach at RMS. She stays close to all the students she has ever taught and even though she works with over 50 students every day, she makes every kid feel special. She helps kids believe in themselves when times are hard and she makes kids feel cared for in her classroom and at community activities outside the classroom, where she always cheers kids on. Mrs Bartlett was the first person to send me a story to tell about someone else’s kindness. That story was about Ms. Barrett and this quote from Mrs. Bartlett about Ms. Barrett shows why they are both deserving of kindness recognition in this column: “Chelsea Barrett is kind, caring and supportive – she is one of the best teachers I have ever worked with – she loves kids and she is always trying to help them be better students, be happy and be safe. She has spent the quarantine helping students one-on-one, she has delivered food to the community and she just lends a smiling face to our cluster meets. I call her friend, family and colleague and she is helping me survive this horrible pandemic. Thank you Chelsea for being you!”
Mr. Gauthier: Mr. Gauthier teaches 8th grade social studies at RMS. Mr. Gauthier teaches kids about U.S. History but what matters more is how much he cares about every kid. He talks to kids about their life, he gives assignments like speech projects that help prepare kids for the real world and in his classroom everyone feels cared for and happy. He has also run the 8th grade RMS Washington DC trip.
Concord High School
Mrs Speckman: Mrs. Speckman is the Special Education Director at CHS and she is always smiling. Mrs. Wyatt (a teacher at CHS) says this about what makes Mrs. Speckman stand out: “She is the kind of person who would do anything for anyone. She really listens to students and has this ability to hear what they are not saying – she can read between the lines.” Mr. Herbert, an Assistant Principal at CHS (and also amazing), said this about what makes Mrs. Speckman stand out: “She always finds the strengths that students possess and uses this to support them in overcoming challenges they face.” Mrs. Speckman is very smart and great at her job but what’s more important is how she goes above and beyond for everyone with a smile!
Mr. Herr: Mr. Herr is a social studies teacher and is known for being fun, caring and kind. According to freshman Grace Sharpe, Mr. Herr really stands out to her as a teacher who goes above and beyond and shows kindness. She says Mr. Herr is a very kind teacher because “he’s very understanding, patient and funny and he stands out to me because he relates to kids better than most teachers.” Many other CHS students agree that Mr. Herr makes learning fun, and entertaining. He also makes students care about the world and think about other people and not just themselves. He makes students want to come to his class every day because of his kindness.
Your kindness challenge this week is to thank a teacher from any time in your life who has gone above and beyond for you in some way. Maybe it was a teacher from 5 years ago, maybe 25 years ago. Whoever it was and whenever it was, it’s never too late to tell them how they changed your life! Tell me who you are thanking, what they taught you and share your thanks for a teacher who went above and beyond for you to email@example.com or on Instagram @kindnesschallengenow. I also have a KindnessChallengeNow website you can check out and post stories there too! sites.google.com/sau8.org/ kindnesschallenge/home.