Two of my impactful mentors suggested always greeting students at the door. That is pretty easy and makes sense. The greeting wasn’t just being at the door, but looking and listening to the students as they enter the class. Always monitoring body language, smiles, and what are students saying today. Then take those bits of the greetings into the lesson, where applicable. Connections in an organic way, so impactful.
Yes, distance learning changes that greeting, but it is still possible and super important. I’m so fortunate to share a student leadership group with a super energetic and creative teacher. She has over 20 years of experience and always sharing her amazing attitude. She is always first to our Gmeet, greeting every student as they enter. More than just saying HI, but exchanging what is going well today.
The exchange needs some fertilizer and builds off of previous interactions. Sometimes the connections start with me mentioning something in their learning space, like cool string lights. There is almost always a story that goes with those lights. Mom/Dad didn’t want me to get them, I got them for a present, I think they are really neat, I like my lights, etc. So simple and fun, in the same method of greeting at the door.
Then there are the totally unexpected gifts. We were studying the research step of the design process. Natalie asks if she can use Alexa for her research. I answered that use whatever reliable resources you have, but no offense to Alexa, but she is a bit dumb for deep questions. I asked if she has an Alexa in her learning space, to which she said “yes”.
What happen next was totally off script and spontaneous. I said, “Alexa, play Mr. Roboto from STYX.” She responded and started playing the song. There were smiles all over the screen and some students shaking their heads. Then Natalie points her camera in the kitchen, where her mom is dancing to the song. Mom says, “I don’t care who sees me, I haven’t heard this song in years.” Simply the best in exchange for sure.
Well it gets better, for each time we meet for that particular class there is Mr. Roboto playing when I arrive to the Gmeet. Students are laughing and anxiously waiting for me to arrive. The class attendance has been at or near 100% since the Alexa moment. I’ll be honest, I get excited for this class too.
Greeting and Exchange is super important. Learning is fun and we have to always keep that in mind. We as educators can’t forget what it was like to be a student at whatever age we are teaching. Be that teacher that is there at the door, smiling and excited to share the learning. There are always people behind the tech tools.