Just fill the ice cube trays. Seems like such a simple thing, doesn’t it? This isn’t a big philosophical discussion or life-changing moment but a subtle reminder I seem to keep getting.
The last few times I have gone to the freezer in the front office to get ice, the bin has been empty. So I’ve taken the old-fashioned ice trays, emptied them, filled them back up, and moved on with the day. I just have to laugh, because it’s like a test now, and I kind of expect it. Days are busy for everyone, and sometimes the last thing we want to do is take an extra five minutes to fill the ice cube trays that the person who emptied the bin didn’t take time to fill.
But maybe that’s the point. Filling the ice cube tray, putting a grocery cart away, or picking up a piece of trash on the ground, are all small examples of a much bigger concept. Servant leadership—where the leader exists to serve the people. And, being a servant leader brings with it a never-ending job description, including small tasks that other people may deem “not their job” or say they “don’t have time for.” But aren’t the small things, the small tasks, and attention to details what often get overlooked?
Teachers have an opportunity to model servant leadership to their students every day. Leading by example, demonstrating desired behaviors of compassion, empathy, kindness, humility, stewardship. Having conversations about what it means to be a servant leader, and providing a space for students to take initiative is a great place to start.
I hope you find some ice cube trays to fill or another way to serve today. Look for them. Your students are watching. The simplest opportunity may be right in front of you.