In a previous post, Connect With Kids in the Context and Confines of the Classroom, I wrote about the importance of having at least one meaningful interaction with every student every class period. But what I didn't mention is that it's also important to have a meaningful interaction with all students as they enter class.
I did this by greeting each student with my signature salutation, "Peace and love," followed by the student's name. And middle school math teacher Marlo Warburton does it her way, as you can see in this video:
There's nothing new about what I'm suggesting here. Many teachers greet students as they enter class, and find that it's a great way to connect with kids and set a positive tone for the class. Why, then, don't more teachers do this?
One reason is that they're doing last-minute preparations for class--getting materials together, writing on the board, pulling up their presentations on the whiteboard, etc. My advice to these teachers is simple: be more organized. (I've shared ideas in previous posts that can help.)
Another reason is that teachers haven't established a routine for the start of class that students can follow on their own. Often, for example, teachers have a "Do Now" on the board, which is great. But because the directions are unclear, students can't get started until the teacher explains the assignment. Rather than greet students as they enter class, teachers need to tell them what to do (over and over and over).
A solution for this is to provide visual, self-explanatory directions for class openers on the board or projector for students to refer to as they enter class. And if an activity isn't conducive to this (i.e., it requires an oral explanation from you), reserve it for later in the class period rather than use it as an opener.
By being more organized and tightening up your opening procedures, you'll be free to greet students as they enter the classroom--and ensure that your class not only gets off to a productive start but a peaceful and loving one too.
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