The Love Bomb

Love-BombThe Love Bomb – do these words make you smile too? I originally heard this expression from my lovely colleague the first time that I experienced a Fishbowl (thank you, Kevin 🙂 ). He offered it as a suggestion to a teacher who was finding it difficult to get a challenging student on board, “try love bomb them”. We all laughed at the new verb but instinctively knew what he meant. Every teacher will know the impact that being deliberately positive, encouraging and caring towards a student can have, especially those in great need of such. It reminds me of wise words offered to a newly qualified teacher trying to find her way in a challenging disadvantaged school
the students won’t care what you know until they know that you care
I agree whole-heartedly but this month I got to thinking about students having the opportunity to show teachers that they care. I felt that it might be the right time to show the teachers a little love bombing too.

RP is about building emotional literacy, about creating environments that are conducive to sharing and connection. I wanted to create an opportunity to cultivate this and to focus lighton the positive. If we keep beating the drum of everything that is wrong, it gets so loud that it can drown out the music of the inspiring theme song that we need to feel good what we are doing in our school.  At times, it’s easy to get caught up with the frustration of students who reside at the top of the pyramid. They tend to remain in sharp focus, even at times in our solution-focused PLC group when we discuss our Case/Class/Student X.

RP is a Process- Focus of 'Success'

RP is a Process- Focus of ‘Success’

As an antidote we recently changed our intention to seeking opportunities to find things to celebrate. Traditionally, in our opening circle, we share personal highlights of the weekend but now we also consciously invite highlights of the school week (thank you , Lara)! I loved the impact of this and felt that the large majority of our student body would also welcome an opportunity celebrate our lovely school and to show teachers how much they were appreciated.  They can do this already, of course, but the added focus of a direct invitation could give this loving, feel good energy a lot of momentum!

questionnaireI thought of the questionnaire idea when chatting to some dear teacher friends over dinner. One of them (thank you, Sinead) shared that her principal had posted some positive comments from a first year survey in the staff room and she mentioned the positive impact this had had on the teachers. My ears always seem to perk up when they recognise the opportunity to spread a little joy, I think it’s the ‘helper’s high’ I love! This casual chat gave birth to the Love Bomb Questionnaire (thank you Claire for helping me to jazz it up). I got thumbs up and guidance from my principal who is always so supportive of these initiatives. My colleague, Enda, who does great work with the student council, came on board. Although he disliked the name :-), he thankfully welcomed the idea. He helped me pitch it to the Student Council who advised us and thought it would be a big success. A number of teachers also gave feedback on how to improve the questions. Thinking about and sharing the intention of this with others was key, it has allowed it to evolve into Love Bomb Week (thank you Helen, Jean and Eithne).
The intention is for the Student Council and Ember Group to work with the SPHE and Religion teachers (thank you, Sandy/ Anna/ Lydia/ Claire/ Nicola/ Helen/ Rachel/ Rita/ Polly/ Amanda/ Tanya/ Mary/ Ross). They will represent the students’ voice and help the teachers to facilitate the classes in the computer room to fill out the Love Bomb Questionnaire before midterm. They will then present the data collected using statistics and anecdotal references to the staff. We will also (hopefully) use this information to launch St. Mark’s Celebration Station (thank you, Mary). That week love bombteachers will be invited to come on board and to love bomb their students and their parents by phoning and/or writing at least one celebratory note each day (70 teachers x 2= 140 per day x 5 = 700 opportunities to make someone smile, feel appreciated and open a positive dialogue). Staff will also be invited to write anonymous sparkle statements to one another on heart shaped cards and leave them in their pigeon holes (thank you Tanya, Helen and students). I’ve also pitched the idea of creating a similar questionnaire for parents who may also welcome the opportunity to show their appreciation of their children’s teachers and our school. We could easily send a URL using text-a-parent; this has yet to be given the thumbs up though! If not now, I am hoping this Love Bomb Week will be such a huge success that the initiative will grow wings for next year – that’s the vision anyway.
lovebomb_6I think we will ‘get away’ 🙂 with ranking so high on the love barometer as it is the week before Valentine’s. As confirmation that we are in flow I received a link from a friend tonight (thank you, Orla) which coincidentally outlined a similar initiative in the corporate world called ‘Love Week’. I took it as a major sign (amazing act of synchronicity) that this is exactly what we should be doing in our school and schools around the country. Creating opportunities to connect, show appreciation and love – this is what inspires me, what fills my spirit, and what I believe will serve the lovely world I want to be part of.
I am really excited and looking forward to all of this coming together. Thankfully I have the guidance, energy and insights of my friends, principal, colleagues and students  (and the universe 🙂 ) all working together to make it happen. I am very grateful for this. I hope this bomb disperses love and gratitude far and wide.

About mstowerp

I am a teacher and restorative practice practitioner, trainer and consultant. I am currently on career break but have been an active champion and coordinator of Restorative Practice (RP) in my school since 2010. Since that time I have become an accredited trainer and also completed a thesis in RP for my Masters in Education. This consisted of an action research project that involved working with teachers to initiate, implement and evaluate the use of RP in their classrooms. I am currently working part tim ein Maynooth and many Education Centres training teachers in RP. Contact me if you are interested in finding out information about training or consultancy. I am passionate about creating well-being and happiness in the work place; and particularly interested in re-culturing schools and cultivating a restorative paradigm shift. My intention is to use this forum to share the work we did as a community of teachers with others and to promote RP, well-being and community. Being involved with this work allows me to feel that the life that I am living is the same as the life that wants to live in me. I am grateful for this.
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