Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Compassion in the Classroom

Compassion brings us to a stop, and for a moment we rise above ourselves.

Mason Cooley

Is there compassion in the classroom? Should there be? Should teachers teach compassion? Should teachers be compassionate? Should students be compassionate?

The recent disaster in Japan has many people scratching their heads because Japan has received only a fraction of donations that other nations typically receive in similar disasters. Why?

Is it because Japan is seen as a developed nation, and third world nations would garner more sympathy?

If so, I’m still shocked because people in need after a tsunami strikes (and radiation threatens) are people who suffer, regardless of their socio economic status.

So what role should the adults play in this? I think when an event of this magnitude occurs, teachers and parents should be talking about it with their children. Maybe it’s a good lesson in compassion versus competition.

I see a lot of competition in and out of the schools in our community - with students and parents constantly monitoring and comparing their grades to others, teachers posting exceptional work up for all to see, special lunches provided for students with high GPAs, parents touting “honor student” bumper stickers on their cars, etc.

Instead of all this competition, what could we be doing to promote compassion and cooperation in our community?

I found a way to donate money to the Japan relief effort today in the newspaper.

It’s called Hands for Japan, started by two Japanese brothers who are using social media to raise money.

Donating money to those in need is only one, small way to show compassion, but there are many other ways we can do that as parents, teachers and students on a daily basis.

How much of a role should schools play in instilling compassion in our kids?


  1. We ALL share the responsibility in this world to show compassion and to be sympathetic to others in need. We all must be an example (not just schools). EVERYONE. EVERYDAY.

  2. In academics and activities, schools apply unrelenting pressure on kids to be the best, be number one, and win at all costs. In the scramble for class ranking, the highest GPA and the most extra curricular activities, kids are forced to compete with their peers for everything! Their classmates are not seen as friends, but as competitors that must be beaten. There is no compassion, no collaboration and no sympathy in our high schools; only an emphasis at getting ahead at the expense of all others.