Classroom Kindness Guidelines

Please keep in mind these guidelines for how we treat each other:

  1. Give each person your full attention, being fully present and focused during class.
  2. Try to see the issue from the other person’s perspective before stating your opinion.
  3. Ask questions when you do not understand; do not assume you know what others are thinking.
  4. Seek to maintain confidentiality (what someone personally shares in the classroom should stay in the classroom).
  5. Do not jump in to talk any time there is a pause or silence, let others learn to speak up.
  6. If you want to say something, and you’ve already said a lot, ask someone else a question about the topic at hand.
  7. Be careful about attempting to position yourself on the highest moral ground.
  8. Stand next to your passionate issues you feel the need to defend, not in front of them. Issues vs. person.
  9. Try not to speak for others who may have a voice. Invite their voice gently.
  10. Get comfortable with discomfort. We are trying to create a safe place so we can open ourselves to new things.
  11. If you disagree with someone, try to briefly restate their key points before sharing your points
  12. Try to avoid the use of the word, “but” and replace it with the word “and” – no matter how awkward it feels
  13. Remember that when someone is vulnerable, they are often respected and admired more for that.
  14. Be prepared that when you criticize, you should be willing to explore an alternative when asked.
  15. Please do not begin packing up your belongings prior to the actual end of class.
  16. Do not interrupt, yell, or call people negative names or attack their character.
  17. Accept that if you don’t offer me feedback on how the class is going, you are partly responsible for things you don’t like.
  18. Assume good will from others. Few people in life are actively trying to hurt someone. If they are, it is usually because their woundedness is so great, they aren’t even aware of it.
  19. If you are physically uncomfortable due to the temperature, seating, hunger, thirst, etc., say something nicely. Physical discomfort and needs impact our mood, learning, and success.
  20. If someone hurts your feelings, it may be best to address that on a break, unless you can do it in a manner that does not embarrass the other (they are probably ignorant to what they have done).
  21. Accept that tackling difficult questions that sometimes don’t have one answer can be better than insisting on an answer without sufficient support.  
  22. If you haven’t done the prep work for the class, be very careful about trying to act like you have. Often just admitting it builds more trust than trying to be somebody you are not.
  23. Make an effort to affirm at least one other person in class every so often. As research shows, it can take multiple affirmations to overcome the impact of one negative comment.
  24. Careful using the word “why”. It is effective at getting to the heart of the matter in class and when it is directed at one person, it also has a tendency to make them feel attacked.
  25. If, after class, you think of something someone said that you really liked and/or benefited from, send them a message outside of class or tell them next time you see them. We rarely do this and when we do, the other person is not only encouraged, but often will describe it as a highlight in their day.