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edu180atl: nicole martin 10.17.12

“We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.” – Mother Teresa

Today while giving a Lower School tour, I happened upon a poster in a Kindergarten classroom that read, “Smiles are contagious.”  It made me stop and wonder at its true meaning.  So being the curious gal that I am, I paid a visit to a know-it-all: Google.  I came across article after website after research study proving or discussing this claim.

In the hustle and bustle of a teacher’s busy day of academic instruction, carpool, parent phone calls and emails, forgotten snacks, skinned knees, recess, lesson planning, copy machine jamming, (and don’t get me started on what’s for lunch), it’s easy to get bogged down in the minutia- to feel overtired, overwhelmed, over-planned, and overcommitted.  I’ll be the first to admit it, I am guilty of this more than I would like.  We say it’s what we do because we care so much.  But maybe a smile is just the thing we all need sometimes to ground us, to bring us back to the reality of the people- rather than things- that really matter: our students.

What harm could come from smiling with the goal of increasing happiness, reducing stress, and lifting people’s spirits? Today I made it my job to find out.  And here’s what I learned: smiles are contagious, and there is nothing better than starting a chain reaction of happiness.  So here’s my challenge to us all: be generous with your smiles today.  Let’s start an epidemic.

About the Author: @nicolenmartin is Director of 21st Century Teaching and Learning K-4 at Mount Vernon Presbyterian School and loves learning, reading, running, and parenting- but not in that order!

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3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Stephen G. Kennedy #

    I love this! Being in a school that is ALL elementary children, I am privileged to be surrounded daily by the smiles of young people for whom joy seems to be their primary means of experiencing the world. Not every child smiles every minute of every day — but the upturned corners of their mouths, the bright eyes, and the frequent skipping of those short legs all indicate that they have yet to take on the worry and stress of my adult colleagues. If our teaching could take on more smiling, less content, and a generous heaping of hopping — I bet the contagion of learning would shock even the CDC! Thank you for this wonderful piece.

    October 17, 2012
  2. jbrettjacobsen #

    Nicole, thank you for reminding us of a simple, yet impactful gesture. 🙂

    October 17, 2012
  3. Shannon Whiting #

    I love it and have lived by that for years!

    October 22, 2012

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