How do you greet your students as they walk into the door each morning?
A parent wrote me a super sweet note to use as a testimonial on my website. As part of her note, the parent wrote; “The other day as my son eagerly exited our van in the preschool drop-off line, I was moved watching Deborah greet him. ‘It’s so great to see you,’ she said. Such beautiful and nourishing words for a four-year-old’s heart.”
I am happy to report that the note included other sweet observations but what I wanted to point out to you was how a simple morning greeting on my part meant so much to this parent and the child. We can get so busy with all the things we have to do that we can think that the parents and children will understand that we are just busy but that’s not their job. Their job is just to be a parent and a child and your job is to set aside anything that might be getting in the way of making them feel welcomed by you. Your welcome helps to continuously remind them that they are important to you and that you are genuinely happy to have them be a part of your community.
Things to Think About
There are so many things we can say and do to greet our students each morning but let me give you a few things to think about…
Check Your Body Language
Your body language is a big part of sending a genuine message of acceptance. Leaning against the wall with your arms crossed and looking rather bored doesn’t quite send the message that you are happy to see someone (It’s one of my biggest pet peeves). Being busy sorting papers or sweeping the floor doesn’t send a warm greeting either. Be confident, smile and keep your whole body language in check and you will see that it really does make a difference. It will make you look better, feel better, and it will help the parents and children have more confidence in you too.
Check What You Say
Every time I go through the McDonalds drive through to pick up my daily sweet tea, I get greeted differently. Some of the staff are very professional – “Thank you Mrs. Stewart – Are you headed to work now?” Others are super casual – “Thanks babe – have a good one.” Some of the staff are unprofessional – “I’ve been here since 6 am and my boss makes me do everything. I am their best employee but I’m getting tired of all the crap that goes on around here.”
In all three cases, the staff members see me daily and think that I like them – which I do. However, the difference in their approach towards me affects how I view them. I either view them as professional, unprofessional, or a little too casual for my comfort zone. But they don’t know how I view them because I am always kind no matter what.
Don’t make your parents be kind to you no matter what.
Greet your parents and their children warmly and professionally every single day. They will respect you more and you will be more intentional in what you say to help your parents and students feel confident in you as their teacher.
Don’t make your students be kind to you no matter what.
When your students walk in the classroom, their sole job is to be three, four, or five-years-old. It is your job to help them have a great experience being three, four, and five-years-old. Be intentional in greeting your students, getting them off to a good start, and helping them to be confident and competent members of your classroom community.
You Can Do It
I do know that as a teacher, you have so many things to juggle but let me encourage you to keep your greetings both before and after school warm, genuinely kind, professional, and a top priority. You can do it and as you do, you will be setting the tone for the kind of community that everyone enjoys being a part of.