There isn’t much time in my daily schedule for social media. It’s typically five to ten minutes here or there, but nothing really on a regular basis. When I do have an opportunity, I usually visit education blogs and websites to read up on the latest in the field or I find a great resource to share with teachers. The past couple of months, I’ve been HOOKED on the Humans of New York (HONY), reading the stories of complete strangers. I find myself curious about people whom I have never met and never will for that matter. I’ve found myself saying, “I wish I could help” or “I’d like to meet him/her”. So of course, I had to do a little research to find out the origins of HONY. Started in 2010 by a gentleman by the name of Brandon. He created HONY with the intention of photographing 10,000 New Yorkers and plotting them on a map. He soon found himself collecting quotes and short stories of these individuals. These two together have captured quite the audience! With over 8 million followers on social media and a #1 bestseller on the NYT, I think you’d agree that Brandon’s idea has been quite successful!
While I typically visit HONY each day, I recently have been visiting several times a day. Brandon has started a series that features 12 Syrian families who have been cleared for resettlement in America after a multi-year screening process. These stories are broken up into multiple parts which are released at various times during the day. These stories suck me in and leave me wanting for more. So I find myself back on the site every few hours, hoping to read the next part of the story. While HONY is creative, amazing, and captivating, it reminds me that everyone has a unique story. Some of the stories are filled with joy and laughter, while some are just downright sad and depressing, but the stories of these strangers have made them who they are as individuals. These same stories could be the students and families that you work with every day.
After reading some of the stories, it always brings me back to this quote…
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”-Philo
Think of the stories that exist with the students and families you work with every day. Just the other day, one of my high school friends that is an educator in the Clark County School District in Vegas posted a picture of McDonalds on his facebook page. He had stopped in to check in on a student who had not been to school in weeks and had a grade point average below a 1.0. There is a story there, not sure what it is…but there is more. Think of all of the students that enter your doors every day that may be “fighting a hard battle”…what’s their story? What can you do to build a relationship and make a difference in each of their lives?
As an educator, my mind goes a million miles an hour with all of the things that you can do with HONY in the classroom. Oh! The opportunities that exist…
Oh! If you aren’t already a HONY reader, I suggest you check it out. You can thank me later for bringing your productivity to an all time low, as you will probably get sucked into these strangers stories too.