Hello, no handshake here!

Teacher Challenge Week 1

Challenge 1:
Greet EVERY student EVERYday.

When I first heard that this was going to be one of the challenges I thought, “Sign me up!! EASY!! I got THIS!” I figured I did that anyway so, easy breezy, D O N E!!

Well, at Valley Vista we have a TWO minute passing period. Our school is very small and well, there is really no where to go so why not get the students right to the next class. Plus, having a two minute passing time allows us to shave time off the total school day while not losing minutes of instructional time. GENIUS PLAN!! Until…you try to greet every student.

Period 1: No problem. Greeted everyone!

Period 2: Problem: If one student stays after to ask a question from period 1 the door greeting time is lost. I even shuffled a couple of students to the door with me so I could double-duty. Greet and answer questions. Not very conducive to building community and actually, really bad manners. Ended up making eye contact with about five students at once. I’m sure it didn’t make them feel welcome!

Periods 4/5: I decided to alter my plan. I would answer questions calmly and then go to door to greet remaining students that were entering.
During the class I made sure I went over to each student and touched their desk, made eye contact, said hello, and thanked them for coming to school today. I actually preferred this and it was well worth the couple of minutes it took to make them feel welcome.

The following should be a separate blog post but whatever I’m writing about it here:

Something that is not in the challenge that I’m doing anyway is saying goodbye and walking the students out. I liken it to having house guests, you greet them and walk them out. Saying goodbye is a great time to give shout outs, high-fives, and generally just words of love. Some students are embarrassed by my awkward boldness of shouting out positive things, but I see the secret smiles and shy looks of satisfaction. Teenagers are a complicated beast…they want and don’t want love at the same time. I choose to give everyday, as much as I can. They need it, we all need it.

And, really, it all starts with eye contact and a “Hello, thanks for coming to class today.”

I would say Week 1 was a success but I know there is room for improvement. Next week: Pictures!!

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