This year, after reading the book “When the adults change everything changes” and with the completion of an informative INSET day from Pivotal Education I realised the importance of greeting students, before they enter the classroom. To back this claim, I also found numerous studies online, validating that greeting students at the door sets a positive tone and can help increase engagement by 20%. All this was more than enough to convince me to give it a go.
Since the beginning of the year, I have been making a conscious effort to greet every one of my students, before they enter the classroom. So far, I have found that it helps calm my students down, before they enter the class, and gets them ready to start the lesson. A recent study showed something similar: that by spending a few moments welcoming students into the classroom promotes a sense of belonging, giving them both social and emotional support that will help them invest time and effort in their learning.
The first few minutes of class are often the most chaotic, as students transition from busy areas such as the corridors or playground. Left unmanaged, disruptions can become difficult to handle later, especially if things that have happened outside escalate indoors. Rather than addressing disruptive behavior as it happens, proactive techniques, like greeting students at the door and modeling good behaviour, can help to reduce the occurrence of unwanted behavior, as teachers and students build a positive classroom culture together.
There are many videos on the internet that show teachers greeting students at the door, some with fancy hand gestures and some with special dances. Whatever you choose to do, make it authentic and real, otherwise the children will see right through it. Below are some simple things you can do when greeting your children at the door.
When greeting students at your door:
- Say the student’s name
- Make eye contact
- Use a friendly nonverbal greeting, such as a handshake, high five, or thumbs-up
- Give a few words of encouragement
- Ask how their day is going
Do what makes you feel comfortable (it doesn’t have to be all of the above), find what works for you and your students. I usually stick with a smile and a simple greeting like good morning.
A welcoming classroom environment doesn’t benefit students alone, it can improve the teacher’s mental health as well.
I truly love starting my day with a smile! How do you start your school day?
Till next time…