“Come in and take your seats CHILDREN. Good morning CLASS. Settle down STUDENTS. Take out your pencils and paper and let’s get to work BOYS AND GIRLS.”
Always addressing the group and never the individual. Many of us were met with these typical, traditional, run of the mill greetings once we found our way into the classrooms but SOMEONE is saying NO MORE! We are not teaching cookie cutters. Each student is unique and deserves a greeting in a manner that celebrates their uniqueness. Mr. Barry White is putting this into action everyday, every class period. I will not retell the story because you can see the post below for yourself. I will say, however, so many children already feel like cattle being shuttled through our nations’ schools. Little to no effort is put into creating an environment that feels genuinely theirs. A place that says, ‘this is your space and there is no other place like this. You are a unique human being and there is not another like you. Celebrate my existence.’ I do believe that by making the effort to “personalize” handshakes and/or greetings with each student shouts aloud “I SEE YOU AND I AM HAPPY THAT YOU ARE HERE.”
Each year, new teachers begin the year with fresh ideas, fresh classrooms, fresh supplies, and tons of energy. There is no doubt that Mr. White exerts a great deal of energy by greeting his students (every class period) this way but there is NO DOUBT that these students will remember him and perform well in his class academically and behaviorally. I am not naive in thinking that each teacher will or can do this. In some school systems, physically touching the students is discouraged and frowned upon. A simple handshake can get teachers in trouble which is unfortunate. I remember when school teachers could give you a hug at the end of the day in elementary school. Today, you risk being charged with sexual assault regardless the gender.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could greet our students with a handshake or a hug? That recognition of “I SEE YOU and YOUR PRESENCE MATTERS TO ME” goes a long way during the school year. Make no mistake about it!