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Choose Kindness: Educator, Author George Couros Inspires TD3 Employees at Back-to-School Kickoff Event

Post Date:08/01/2019 4:01 PM

Crowd with banner that says District theme - Choose Kindness...Change the World. Speaker in front of podium.Building positive relationships is the most important part of education. 

That was the message delivered to all TD3 staff at the annual Back-to-School Kickoff Event. Every Tempe Elementary teacher and staff member were present at the event, which inspired and energized everyone for the upcoming 2019-2020 school year.

Superintendent Christine Busch welcomed the group and shared the theme for the school year: Choose Kindness...Change the World! In light of the theme, Busch introduced George Couros, the keynote speaker at this year’s event.

George Couros is a learner, educator, and Innovative Teaching, Learning, and Leadership consultant. He is also the author of "The Innovator's Mindset." Couros believes we need to inspire our kids to follow their passions while letting them inspire us to do the same.

Couros opened with sharing his thoughts on how every single student, no matter where they come from, should be given opportunities to be successful, in particular, opportunities that are meaningful to them. He then led the TD3 employees into a message on the type of mindset that could help educators help students reach their greatest potential.

Three female teachers in same gray color t-shirt smiling at cameraUsing a mix of humor and heart-warming stories, Couros discussed how important it is for educators these days to think with an “innovator's mindset” which implies the ability to create empowering learning experiences, incorporate learning methods relevant to the learner – with an emphasis on embracing technology, and continuing to be a lifelong learner. But what is at the core of the innovator’s mindset? The ability to build and maintain positive relationships with students. 

“Err on the side of positive,” said Couros. “You never know when it’s going to impact someone’s life.”

In the context of education, an acknowledgment in a hallway can have a monumental outcome that could stick with a child forever. Couros reminded the audience that oftentimes, school is the most joyous place for a child in their whole day. 

Laird School Counselor Danielle Juengel particularly resonated with Couros’ points as she has seen the power of kindness in action at her school on a daily basis.

Backs of teachers looking at the speaker. On the back of their t-shirts it says Kindness Matters“As a counselor, kindness is the foundation of everything I do. Without that relationship and trust, built through kindness, I wouldn’t be able to reach as many students,” Juengel said.

Kindness not only feels good in the moment, but can also have long-term emotional benefits. Juengel noted that showing kindness reduces stress, depression, and anxiety in both the giver and receiver. 

“It is one of the few things you can do for free that benefits everyone,” Juengel added.

Even in the face of those who are unkind, Couros ended his keynote address by challenging TD3 employees to be advocates for kindness and lead through example. 

“We need to make the positives so loud, that the negatives are hard to hear,” said Couros.

For more information on George Couros, please visit his website at https://georgecouros.ca/blog/.

Thank you to everyone who made the Back-to-School Kickoff Event a success. We look forward to another great school year in TD3!