By definition, sticky notes and other little reminders we leave ourselves are momentary, short lived, impermanent. That’s their point.
Those flimsy little slips of paper with a sticky stripe along the back should call to mind things we don’t want forgotten. Sometimes, though, they points us toward bigger and better ideas.
Indeed, any scrap of paper can have an large impact depending on the message it bears. Don’t believe me? Well, consider these stories about teachers’ notes that made major waves.
In 2014, sixth-grade teacher Melissa Bour decided she’d had enough. She’d seen the nasty images her students had scattered on social media, and she wanted the world to help her get a very specific message out.
Bour took a loose piece of paper, laid it next to her school ID and wrote a message on it in green Sharpie. That message said this:
“My 12-year-old students think it is ‘no big deal’ that they are posting pictures of themselves in bras or with their middle finger in the air. Please help me out by sharing this image and commenting with where you live to show these young students how quickly their images can get around.”
That simple message written exploded, going viral in hours. According to Today, the images was soon shared across all 50 states and even reached countries such as Saudi Arabia, Germany and Australia.
Speaking of Australia, the kind counsel of a Queensland instructor at Bowen State School had a similar impact in 2017. ABC News highlighted a wise poem the teacher had put in a goodie for the children.
“The eraser is to remind you that [it] is ok to make mistakes,” it stated. “We’ll work and learn together, no matter what it takes.
“The stickers mean we’ll stick together and work hard as a team. The puzzle shows how we fit together, working towards a common theme.”
Online commenters loved the little note, especially its reminder to “remember to aim far!” It also earned the teacher praise from the Queensland Department of Education and Training.
“This is a great example of the welcoming atmosphere Bowen State School teachers and staff created for students as they started the school year,” a spokesperson said. “The school’s dedicated teachers came up with a range of ways to make new and returning students feel welcomed and confident for the year ahead.”
A shorter message, this one written on a sticky note pressed beside a laptop’s keyboard, appeared on the Facebook page of Balanced Teachers. But it was every bit as impactful.
It said, “He’s not giving me a hard time. He’s having a hard time.”
“I keep this Post It on my school computer as a daily reminder that a misbehaving kid is a discouraged kid, or a disempowered kid, or a kid missing the skills to deal with a challenge they were given,” the unnamed teacher explained. “There’s always a reason for a behavior.
“And building strong relationships will help me find the reason more often than not.” Indeed, it will, and I wish that every teacher was willing to invest so whole heartedly in students.
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