KindnessOne of the many emails I’ve received this year was from Daniel Pink. He runs an email group where he sends out a short video every other week called “The Pinkcast”. It’s set to introduce us to an expert, give us a tip by that expert, then give us additional resources about that expert and their tip. Seems pretty straight forward, and I always enjoy the various topic he brings to the table. This week, it was civility. The title of his email was, “This is how to make your workplace kinder (and more effective)”. Intriguing title, so I clicked through. Boy am I glad that I did.


Normally, the Pinkcast is good, but many times, it doesn’t relate to the middle school teacher, so it’s 3 minutes and I can go about my day. This one kept me awake. As I thought about my class, our middle school, heck, our entire district, I could visualize all the scenarios taking place.


First, the Pinkcast video (click here to view). His guest is a researcher and speaker named Christine Porath. She’s well versed in the area of civility and business, having written two books on the subject. The video focuses on one tip for civility, the “10 – 5 Rule”, where when you are 10 feet from someone, you acknowledge them with eye contact and a smile, and when/if that distance closes to 5 feet, you greet them. What person couldn’t do this in their place of work? In their church? Maybe even…….their school??? 


Now, I showed this video to my students and they pretty much gave me the “whatever dude” eye roll, that one where you’d swear their eyes rolled back so far they hit their brains. Then I showed them her Ted Talk on civility. Then they sat up. When a company computed they lost twelve million dollars per year because of incivility in the workplace.


The Ted Talk is a must watch, not only for teachers but administrators as well. Heck, it’s a must watch for anyone feeling a lack of civility around them! The number one reason for incivility is stress. Gee, do you think that teachers and administrators are feeling stressed right now? Do you think the civility level has gone up or down in the last 20 years with all the things happening in our country? It contributes to a lack of work, lower productivity, and less active learning. Are you a better worker when yelled at or belittled? Are you a better person when worrying if a co-worker is going to blow up?


I have no plan other than this: BE NICE!

Being civil is all about you and your own character. That idea of not being a jerk to a jerk, because their behavior reflects poorly on them, not you. If you are civil, you are more likely to be seen as a leader. But don’t take my word for it, watch the videos. I’m not going to lie, I was shocked at the statistic she throws out there, but they check out!

Again, my plan? BE CINE@

Be civil in an uncivil atmosphere? What a novel idea. Yet, it’s