Wednesday, January 28, 2015

5 #FiveMinuteFavor Ideas for Educators

Are you a Giver, a Taker, or a Matcher?

Wait what? That's probably what you are asking yourself right now. I don't blame you.

 Let me explain a bit. I came across the idea of Giver, Taker, or Matcher listening to this podcast featuring Adam Grant. Grant, a Wharton professor and author of “Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success”, believes that in a networked world success depends on how we interact with others. Grant explains three styles of interaction.

  • Givers - People who enjoy helping others with no strings attached.
  • Takers - People who don’t give unless it benefits them directly, or if it allows them to get ahead.
  • Matchers - People in the middle who strike an equal balance, often seeing interactions as tit for tat.  

Grant finds that Givers are the least successful people. Bummer. Why can't the world work for good people? Fortunately, not all hope is lost. There's a flip side. Givers also top the list of most successful people. Takers and Matchers usually slide in the middle.

The worst Givers let the idea of giving overtake their lives. The best Givers strike a balance. They give of themselves while understanding boundaries and getting things done. Personally, I find it agreeable that those who give are rewarded for their behavior. I love the romantic notion that Pay it Forward sparks a virtuous cycle of benefits. It's a grand vision, thinking in terms of helping each other, rather than exploiting each other.

How can we all get better at giving? How can we act in small ways that add substantial value to another person's life? Enter the Five Minute Favor. Some of the biggest, busiest people in Silicon Valley set aside a few minutes each day with the sole intent of benefiting someone else. They make an introduction, offer advice, or follow up on a stranger's email.

What are some ideas for Five Minute Favors for educators? Here are 5, Five Minute Favor ideas especially for educators.

  • 1) Make a positive call or email to a student's parent - We know the benefits. We may even know how great it feels as a parent. Yet, we just don't do. Why not take five minutes and start today?
  • 2) Write a thank you note to a colleague - You know the teacher next door is awesome, but have you ever told her? Did you thank her for the time she covered your recess duty? Did you thank her for helping one of your students? Did you thank her for simply making work a better place to be?
  • 3) Connect two people with a nice, warm email introduction - Perhaps your neighbor is an engineer, and the second grade teacher is doing a unit on simple machines. Why not introduce them? Maybe your principal is looking for snack donations for an event, and your best friend owns a bakery. Why not introduce them?
  • 4) Share on social media - Do you enjoy a small education blogger? Send a thoughtful tweet recommending them and their blog. Did you enjoy a teacher's article? Leave a comment and share it on Pinterest.
  • 5) Take out the garbage, pick up the trash, or vacuum your classroom - You know some of the hardest working people in the building? The custodians and janitors. They do so much for schools and often get so little recognition. Why not show them you care?

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