With a unique idea, this Oklahoma teacher is teaching her students to learn sympathy and kindness and the people are appreciating it
Apart from home, kids usually spend more time at school. Whether we acknowledge this fact or not, teachers play an important role in building up a kid's future. They not only equip their students with the worldly knowledge but help in building their personality too. This middle school teacher from Oklahoma has taken the task in her hand to teach her students to be sympathetic. She later shared her experiment on Facebook and was surprised to see that half a million people were amazed by the results.
Karen Loewe began teaching her 22nd year of middle school on August 22. Taking first step towards her experiment, Loewe asked her students about baggage, introducing them to the idea of “Baggage Activity.” She asked her students to write down the baggage that was weighing them down either emotionally or mentally on a piece of paper. She asked the kids to keep the notes anonymous.
When they were finished with the activity, the kids were asked to crumple the notes in their hands and throw them across the room.
3. The main idea behind this activity was to teach students to be sympathetic with each other.
When done with throwing the notes on the floor, she asked each student to choose a random note and read it out loud. She gave an opportunity to the actual person to come forward and discuss it if they were comfortable in doing so. Loewe was amazed to see how students picked up courage and started to come forward and discussed tough things they were facing in life, something they won't dare discussing so comfortably before.
The main idea behind this activity was to teach students to be sympathetic with each other.
Middle school is the time when kids are growing up and they start learning new things. This is also the period of school life where they face bullying and self esteem issues the most. It is this period they must be introduced to the concept of sympathy and kindness. These are basic fundamental values that must be taught to kids to raise a generation this is willing to share the love and burden of the world. Only then we can have positive hope from this word.
With the age of digital life, kids these days are more attached to their gadgets and have started to detach themselves from real human emotions. In the world of video games and social media, the task of involving kids in any sort of physical or mental activity has become more of a challenge for parents and teachers. Despite the struggle, teachers and parents are working on introducing these basic values to the young generation. Loewe is one example of such person who is using her profession to teach her students the importance of empathy and kindness.
Loewe took to social media to introduce her baggage activity with the public. Little did she know that the public would be in awe with her idea. “This starts my 22nd year of teaching middle school. Yesterday was quite possibly one of the most impactful days I have ever had,” she began the Facebook post. “I tried a new activity called ‘The Baggage Activity.'”
Loewe had a discussion with her students about the meaning of baggage. “I asked the kids what it meant to have baggage and they mostly said it was hurtful stuff you carry around on your shoulders,” which shows that they had a good grasp of what she was getting at. “I asked them to write down on a piece of paper what was bothering them, what was heavy on their heart, what was hurting them, etc,” she explained. “No names were to be on a paper. They wadded the paper up, and threw it across the room.”
She further explained, “They picked up a piece of paper and took turns reading out loud what their classmate wrote. After a student read a paper, I asked who wrote that, and if they cared to share.” By giving students the opportunity to speak about their issues without forcing them to, she got a lot of kids to open up. “I’m here to tell you, I have never been so moved to tears as what these kids opened up … about and shared with the class.”
“Things like suicide, parents in prison, drugs in their family, being left by their parents, death, cancer, losing pets (one said their gerbil died cause it was fat, we giggled😁) and on and on,” Loewe detailed.
It might seem a lot for kids of this age but Loewe wants to teach her students just one thing that will make them a human, that is to understand that every person in this world is carrying personal emotional baggage. For this it does not matter whether they are kids or not. Some are facing family problems, some face financial problems, some struggling with their mental health. Its not easy to survive this world. Least a person can do is show empathy to those struggling and try to make things less hard than they already are.
Loewe explained, “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.”
As for the notes, Loewe has decided to keep them in her class. In a plastic shopper hanging on the class door, all the notes go in that shopper, “This bag hangs by my door to remind them that we all have baggage. We will leave it at the door. As they left I told them, they are not alone, they are loved, and we have each other’s back,” she concluded. “I am honored to be their teacher.”
Loewe's story not only became famous with the public but a lot of her former students also reached out and praised their teacher for creating an impact in their life and helping them grow as an emphatic and kind person.