Karen Loewe is a middle school English teacher from Oklahoma. She’s been teaching for 22 years, and based on what I’m about to share, I’m guessing she has collected a lot of wisdom and knowledge about teaching her students over those two decades.
We, as former students and as parents of students, have heard it all before. Make sure you get a good night’s rest before school. Eat a healthy breakfast. Be sure to get outside and move your body to stay healthy. All of these things are important, but what seems to be missing from most classrooms is a focus on emotional well-being.
I can think of no stage of life that requires this focus more than the middle school years. Apparently Loewe agrees, too, so she put together a beautiful object lesson and shared her experience on social media.
From there, she asked each student to write down things that were bothering or hurting them, crumple up the paper, and toss is across the room. The students then, one by one, walked over, picked up a crumpled sheet of paper, and read it out loud to everyone before finally placing it in a plastic bag hanging by the door.
Every time one of them read a piece of paper, Loewe asked if the person who wrote it cared to share more with the class. Can you guess what some of the answers looked like?
Loewe said, “I’m here to tell you, I have never been so moved to tears as what these kids opened up and about and shared with the class.”
The students obviously had an experience in Loewe’s classroom this year. Whether or not they all chose to share which confession was theirs personally, it allowed all of them an opportunity to offload some heavy things and put it out into the air to receive support. The activity is a beautiful reminder that we all carry around baggage. We need to not only have grace on ourselves, but empathy for what others are carrying as well.
Karen Loewe is a prime example of an educator who goes above and beyond her given curriculum. We are so thankful for her work in raising well-rounded, healthy kids!
Rachel is a wife and mother living in Raleigh, North Carolina. She’s a fan of good coffee, wearer of gray t-shirts, and is constantly starting books she will never finish. Her family is her joy, and she loves to engage with other moms and dads on matters of parenting. Her blog posts have also been featured on the Today Show Parenting Blog and Scary Mommy.