Do we notice people around us? Really notice?
In late August, my sixth graders and I watched a TedTalk by Angela Maiers titled You Matter. I’ve seen this TedTalk with various classes and always pull a little something new from it, but this time, it was about the noticing. We talked about how a smile, a simple “good morning”, or a high five can pull someone from that depths of sadness by simply acknowledging their existence. There are those students who try to be invisible. I get that. Being an introvert, I understand that desire not to be noticed, and there are days where I don’t want to be seen by anyone, period. I move at low traffic times in the school and simply avoid that contact.
BUT, I also know that this is not healthy for me. Humans, no matter how introverted, need that contact. We have students who crave contact with others, but because of family situation, bullying, or whatever, are made to be invisible. They aren’t acknowledged and it cuts deeply. Social media has made exclusion easy and more painful because you aren’t asked somewhere AND you get to see the pictures of everyone else having a blast. We dealt with that in our house, and it’s not pretty.
So, when Angela talked about noticing, we talked about noticing. How do we make a difference? How do we acknowledge that our classmates are there, even when we don’t like them? They know I’ll be in the hallway, either at the beginning of the day or the end fo the day, smiling, making eye contact, calling them by name, and acknowledging them, just like all of our middle school teachers are. I have a couple of kids carrying “noticing notebooks” watching and writing things down. I tried that once, until I noticed I lost my notebook.
In the end, I’m preaching to the choir. We need to get our heads out our devices and have a conversation. We need to notice each other, our families, our students, and notice ourselves. If we are buried in the newest news story or cat video, we can avoid our own feelings, which isn’t a good thing either.
I notice you, reading my blog, and I thank you for that. I thought about ending this with a cat video, but instead, go out and see what you find. You might be surprised what you see! 🙂