I saw this picture posted on Facebook and Twitter a few times recently and it made me think about empathy and compassion. It can be easy to get caught up in small nuisances, such as a student not having a pencil, and forget that there could be something bigger going on.
I am sure everyone has heard a variation of the saying, “Be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” That is the first thing I thought after seeing this picture. It is also the first thing I try to remind myself of when someone does something that annoys or infuriates me, especially in traffic. Recently, I was driving to work in the left lane in an area that does not allow left turns during rush hour. The person in front of me was turning left and caused me to miss the light. I was angry. I later realized that the intersection was at a hospital and there was nowhere else nearby to turn around at that time of day. I can’t know for sure if that person was heading to the hospital, if they just didn’t know they couldn’t turn left, or if they just didn’t care, but that is the point. You don’t know what someone else is going through unless they tell you, so it’s a good idea to try your best to err on the side of empathy and compassion.
What did this picture make you think of first? Did it make you think a particular student or situation in your life? Have you ever had a student in a similar situation? How can we display empathy and compassion toward students while still treating students equally?