The Magic of Saying Hello

Starting off the day on a positive note is a good way to get buy in from the students and keep them engaged all day long.I will admit it.  I didn't always speak to my kids when they came into my room in the morning.

I know...a collective gasp of revolt and judgement just went up in teacher-land.  

But it is true.  My kids would come into the room and I would sit at my desk (or whatever space I had in the front of the room) taking attendance, lunch count, processing notes the kids gave me, or whatever other 100 things we as teachers need to do in the morning as the day begins.  My kids would get to their seats and immediately get to work on a morning packet or reading or whatever else I assigned for them as morning work that particular year.  There was very little interaction between anyone in the room.  Everyone was serious and got to work.

Now, this worked for me for many different reasons, not the least of which was that it was quiet in my classroom.  No one was off doing anything they shouldn't be doing.  No one was out of control or out of their seat.  I had complete control of the room without saying a word.

But what I didn't have was any connection at all.   My kids were doing what they were supposed to, and throughout the day they were learning, but there was no real connection between them and myself.  I was just a lady standing in front of the room teaching them stuff.  

I could have been anyone.

This year, though, I wanted to change that.  So I made ONE little modification to my morning routine that literally changed everything in my classroom.  I now say hello to the kids in the morning.

I stand by my door as the kids grab breakfast.  One by one, as they come in, I say hello to them and call them by name.

"Hello, Nico."

"Good morning, Addy"

"Hi, Cameron"

The kids then say hi back (some nod or just look at me, but they are slowly coming around ;) ) and head to their seats, unpacking, eating, reading....just as they did before.  

Now, you are probably saying to yourself, how on earth did this change everything in your classroom?  Well, you see, by acknowledging them by name I have let each child know that *I*  know that they are present and a part of the classroom.  My kids aren't wondering if I even know who they are anymore.  They feel important and seen.  Because they have a sense of import, the kids are more focused, more engaged, more involved throughout the entire day.
Honestly, before I started saying hi to the kids in the morning myself, I thought those who did were crazy.  I mean, there was just so much noise in the morning.  So much time was taken out to say hi.  The teacher was just standing in the back greeting people.  Surely the time could be used better. 

But no.   This 15 seconds I take per child in my room sets us on a positive and productive track for the entire day.  My kids are more responsive and on task.   And why is that?  Because they feel more connected to me as a person.  I am someone who notices them and cares that they are there.  I am no longer a lady standing in front of the room teaching them stuff.  I am Mrs. Moorman who knows they are there and cares.

All because of a little magic word....hello.

4 comments

  1. Totally agree! You'd be surprised how few teachers greet their students. Your "hello" might be the highlight of that student's day! Great post!

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    1. I was one of those teachers! But once I started the greeting, it completely changed my classroom!

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  2. My new school requires that we greet each student, and I love the tone it sets for the day. We shake hands or bump fists and that moment of connection sets us off on a positive path for the day.

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    1. I completely agree! It really makes such a difference!

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