Pay it Forward

In my old teaching post I taught a variety of subjects; ICT, Computer Science, Maths, Business Studies and PSHE (Personal, Social, Health and Economic education) to a variety of year groups.

The scheme of work as part of one of my year nine PSHE classes called for us to watch the film Pay It Forward.

Teaching six classes of year 9s, I got to watching this film quite a few times and I think the concept behind it is a lovely one;  Students in a class are given an assignment to make the world a better place.  One of the students (Haley Joel Osment of The Sixth Sense as he will forever be known!) comes up with the idea of helping three people who really needed his help.  Each of those people should then help another three people – paying forward the gesture that had been paid to them.  In the film you learn of the troubled upbringing that Haley’s character has had and delve a little into the lives of his teacher and Mother as they all come together.

The film is a great one to prompt thoughts from students – culminating of course in asking them how they would make the world a better place.

Yesterday I was touched by several members of staff at my school.
On Sunday morning Dan was kicked in the head during a football game.  The boot studs drew blood and his face quickly swelled up, becoming a mess and forcing him to drink through a straw for the rest of the day.  The swelling had subsided slightly by Monday morning so off he went to work, although with a throbbing headache and after a day where concentration just wasn’t happening, Dan called to say that he would be picking me up at the end of my school day (3pm) rather than at the end of his (two hours later) so that he may head home and get some rest.  (Or at least, it was something along those lines – his face and lip were so swollen, it was hard to have a conversation with him!)

Yesterday, the swelling had substantially gone down before school so off we went again.  I checked my emails at lunchtime to find that Dan had been sent home due to suspected concussion.  He was deemed OK by the doctor although sent home to rest.  Thus leaving me without a method of transport home.

Having previously discovered that the 25 mile journey from school to mine via public transport is nearly 7 hours long and involves several miles of walking, one train and four buses I wasn’t too keen on that option so sent out a bulk email to all staff informing them of my situation and asking that if anyone lived vaguely in my direction I would be forever grateful if they could potentially give me a ride some of the way home.

One lady was quick to respond and said that she didn’t live in my direction but would happily drive me to the station in Huntingdon six miles away.  One of the guys in my department offered to drive me home, but being a 45 minute journey in the wrong direction for him, and then having to head home again I declined his offer, although thanked him profusely for making it.

When school finished at 3pm I hadn’t heard from any other staff,  The majority of staff live towards Cambridge, whereas I live on the Northamptonshire border – completely the other direction from school.  I accepted the very kind offer of the lift to the station and as I sat chatting to the lady in the car that I had met for the very first time that afternoon I discovered that even the train station was not in her direction home from school.  She mentioned that plenty of people had done nice things for her in the past and she was only too happy to help somebody else in the same way.  When she discovered I had friends in Peterborough she offered to drive me all the way over there, but obviously I could not accept this.

I waited thirty minutes for a train to Peterborough, waited an hour at the bus station there and then caught a two hour bus to Isham, where I managed to get a lift home, arriving just after 8pm.  A long day, but Dan was OK and my faith was restored in the loveliness of others.  Especially as, walking through the door back at home, my school iPad started to ping like crazy as several members of staff had emailed to check I had gotten home OK and one had even offered to come back to school and pick me up to take me home.

Unfortunately it seems that too often people are wrapped up in their own little bubbles and barely interact with others.  Lots of people really are very thoughtful and lovely though and every so often something like this happens and it reminds me just how much good there is in people.

What is the nicest/most thoughtful thing anyone has ever done for you?