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A Simple Act of Gratitude

The simple story of a thoughtful student.

Photo of Andrea Orluski
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I'm in my fifth year of teaching, and over the years, I've found that it's helpful to tell your students a bit about yourself on the first day. The first day is nerve-wracking for most kids and doubly so for my freshmen. Knowing that their teacher is a real person with a life outside of school makes them feel a bit at ease in our big school; plus, I always like to model what I expect of them, and they, too, have to talk about themselves on that first day. 


As we moved through our first day together, I told my scholars about my educational background, what I did over the summer, and a few of my favorite things. We went over the rules and procedures, and I got to learn a little about them. On the second day of class, we jumped right into the curriculum, and I had long forgotten about my first day Google Slides. 


Until last week. I was sitting in my classroom with the door open as lunch was ending and my planning period was beginning. As students were rushing down the hallways to get to class before the tardy bell, one of my students walked into my room. 

"Miss, you like popcorn, right?" 

"Yep!" (Thinking to myself she is selling popcorn for a club or organization).

"Here you go!" she simply said as she placed a bag of colored, vanilla popcorn on my desk. 

"L, what is this for?!" I was shocked that this quiet student had approached me in her free time to drop this little gift off. Did she think it was my birthday? Is she about to ask for an extension on a paper?

Instead, she simply replied, "Because you're my favorite teacher and I wanted to thank you for teaching me and being excited to be here every day." 

With that, she simply left the room and went off to 8th period so quickly that all I could get out was a quick but sincere, "Thank you!" 

My student's act of gratitude may have been simple, but it was in no way small. My heart filled with pride knowing that in our short few weeks together, I reached this student and she saw my passion for teaching my kids come through. I was also impressed and touched that she remembered my favorite snack from the very first day of school. 

This student serves as a reminder to all of us that showing gratitude is simple but goes such a long way. She inspired me to make a more concerted effort to thank those around me, both at work and at home. Challenge yourself to find a way to show gratitude to someone else today; you won't believe how good you'll both feel! 

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Hi Andrea Orluski ,

Great to see you sharing your provocations around this topic and bringing your voice to the Gratitude Challenge Community!

From the insights shared in your post, we think it may be particularly interesting to for you to attend our Gratitude in the Workplace Webinar with University of Washington positive organizational leadership expert, Ryan Fehr tomorrow, Oct 13 @ 9:00 a.m. Pacific Time. He’ll be discussing recommendations for designing Ideas for this topic.

You can register for the webinar here https://goo.gl/forms/owhdGkljXkvmW7mi2

We hope to see you there!

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