The few precious hurry and scurry moments before the school day starts can often feel like a bustling version of Beat the Clock.
Drop your lunch in the fridge. Check your mailbox. Check your email. Gather materials for the day’s math and science lessons. Respond to a phone call from a parent. Support a colleague who stops by to ask for some advice about tricky situation. The list goes on and on . . .
So it’s not surprising, that sometimes we’re caught off guard as students suddenly start trickling into the classroom while we scramble to finish up the last few items on our to-do list.
In some classes teachers may have even carefully taught kids a routine for entering the room in an orderly fashion and digging right into “seat work” placed carefully on each desk or “bell ringer activities” written on the board, making it possible for students to enter and begin their day without the need for interaction or direction from the teacher.
On the surface this may seem like a harmless and even efficient way to start the day.
But as it turns out, the most powerful way to spend those last few minutes before the days starts is at the door with the kids. Current research confirms what many teachers have always instinctively known; making a habit of greeting students at the door every day can make a world of positive difference throughout the entire learning day.
To be clear, greeting students is different from “monitoring hallways behavior”. Greeting students at the door is commitment to be present, be positive, and work to ensure that the first message kids get from you in the morning of one of connection, optimism, and encouragement.
Not a scolding. Not a nagging reminder. Not a rehash of yesterday’s troubles.
Instead, think of the greeting as a tiny little gift of love you offer each student as they enter the classroom each day. It doesn’t need to be elaborate or long winded. It just needs to show you care for each student individually.
According to this 2018 Edutopia article, starting each day by greeting your students at the door
- helps set a positive tone for the rest of the day
- promotes a sense of belonging
- boosts academic engagement
- reduces disruptive behavior
- contributes to teacher wellness
Why is this practice so powerful? Because it creates a sense of social belonging. And when students feel as sense of belonging they are more likely to be motivated toward achievement.
And the benefits aren’t just for kids, the benefits are for us as well. In this face-paced, digital world where self-care and connection are all too often neglected, the few moments of positive human connection and celebration of each little life we welcome into the learning environment can energize and center teachers as well.
It just seems so sensible, doesn’t it? Do what you can to get everyone started on a positive note, feeling welcomed and connected, and the whole day is potentially effected.
Greeting students at the door is a chance to let students know from the first moment of the learning day:
- I see you.
- I’m glad you are here.
- You matter to me and to this learning community.
- We are going to have an exciting learning day.
- I want to better understand the things that matter to you.
- Yesterday is in the past. Today is a fresh start.
So, how about it. Let’s all recommit to finding our way to the door in the morning, smiles on our faces, ready to promise kids that today is a great day for learning!
Want to learn more tips and tricks for making the magic happen?
You can grab your free copy of “The Simple Magic of Greeting Kids at the Door: An Investment in Increased Connection and Engagement All Day Long”.
The download includes:
- Greeting Kids at the Door: 7 Simple Ideas for Bringing More Magic
- A Mix and Match Menu of 36+ Greeting Examples
- Making It Personal: 5 Customized Greetings for Everyday Scenarios
Kari, I love this. Who doesn’t love to be greeted warmly? And what I’ve come to realize is that by enthusiastically and genuinely greeting students by name, I am put in a better mood and I am energized for my day. It’s a reciprocal blessing!
It is truly magical isn’t it. We show up to offer them some joy and it is returned to us ten fold! A perfect way to center ourselves for the day, remembering what brought us to the work in the first place.