30 Ways to Change the World

Of course, changing the world in Paragraph City is worlds easier than changing that bones and geography world that exists outside my imagination. I use a delete key; they use high spirits, Robert’s Rules of Order, prayer, and that coffee can with the kid’s picture on it at the Mini-mart check-out. 

Nevertheless, we talk about teaching here, which is nothing if not changing the world. So when Lorelle put up the blog challenge to list 30 ways to change the world in 30 seconds (here), I thought I’d do it. Afterall, it’s been an age since I plinked that ordered-list button.

  1. Take an office hour and instead of hiding out, spend it in the tutorial center where you can do some good, 120 thirty seconds at at time.
  2. Next time headed across campus, pick up some trash.
  3. Learn the names of those last few shrinking students lurking in your class who are still anonymous.
  4. If you think about it, you’ve recently overheard some student conversation that praised someone. Stop by that someone’s office and tell him or her about it. 
  5. Start eavesdropping for that sort of conversation.
  6. Identify one struggling student in each class and say a prayer for him or her each time you walk into class.
  7. Spend 30 seconds every workday remembering one thing you really liked about your first year at college. Then try to give that to someone else.
  8. When students hand in papers, say thank you.
  9. Bring your dog or cat to campus sometime. Housebreak them first.
  10. When class ends, thank students for coming and for their attention, even if you have to wake them up to do so.
  11. Add this to your job description: to make this campus a friendlier place to work.
  12. Stop at the library and walk around, spend 30 seconds glancing over periodicals, and say hi to any students you recognize, even if they don’t have a name (at least, as far as your memory goes).
  13. Tell a joke in class.
  14. Stop by a card shop and pick up ten cards: three humorous, five sympathy, two birthday. Keep them in your desk drawer to send out to people you work with when the occasion comes up. Buy stamps.
  15. Let the students who are struggling the most in your class know that there are things which don’t come easily to you. Mention a few of them.
  16. Smile more often. Before you say your first words in class, smile.
  17. Bring doughnuts to class and watch your stock go up on Rate My Professor.
  18. Put a cartoon on your office door.
  19. Take a break and go to the union. Buy a cup of coffee. Buy one for someone else, too.
  20. Put a quarter in someone else’s parking meter. Yes, I know that in some cities this is against the law. Do it anyway. Living on the edge of madness will make you feel young again.
  21. Stop at that mini-mart with the photo on the coffee can. Lose your spare change there.
  22. Send a thank you card to someone who helped make you who you are.
  23. Make at least one assignment every semester that requires your students to do something that will help someone else out.
  24. Find a cause and promote it: poster in the office, examples in the lectures, addresses and URLs on the bulletin board.
  25. Ask students what their causes are. Require them to have one. Require that they cannot be their own cause.
  26. Give everyone a break: one late to class, one lame excuse, one stupid mistake, one lapse of judgment. Include yourself in this generosity.
  27. Change your routine today.
  28. Spend 30 seconds looking at something that Nature made. Study it. Memorize it. Can you carry its picture around in your memory all day?
  29. Consider someone more miserable than you. Consider that you could become that person. Do one thing that will make this less likely.
  30. Those faces that look at you during class: wonder deeply what will become of them.

2 Responses to 30 Ways to Change the World

  1. I love the cartoon on the door and the change your routine today. Fabulous. Wondering what will become of your students in the future – excellent.

    These are truly inspirational. Thank you for spreading the 30 second cheer of goodness!

  2. Thanks, Lorelle. Your WordPress blog is the inspiration.

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