Every day I greet my students at the door before class begins.  Usually it’s a quick hello, smile, and, occasionally, a high-five or handshake.  Over the past week I noticed that my freshmen students don’t really respond well to the greeting.  Sometimes, they smile back, yet seldom make eye contact.  Others simply walk past me – unacceptable.  Several freshmen shake hands, but it’s like shaking a wet fish.  They either don’t care or they don’t understand the protocol when you greet someone.

I took it upon myself to change this exchange.  My goal is to have every freshmen student greet me properly at the door.  I initized the greeting with a handshake, providing instant feedback if the student had less than a firm hold.  Next, I made sure the student made eye-contact while shaking my hand.  Then, we nodded – it just make it fun.  I would say “shake, eye, nod.” as we went through the motions.

How did the students respond to my first day of proper greeting?  They loved it.  Every student had a smile on their face before entering class.  In fact, when I poked my head back into the classroom I saw freshmen greeting each other the same way I greeted them.  They thought it was fun.

Here’s what I got out it.  First, I was able to check in with every student, even if it’s for 2 seconds.  This is a great way to continue to build rapport.  Second, when class started I saw students that are more alert and ready to listen.  Everyone was in a better mood, allowing for increased learning.

I am interested on how they will respond tomorrow when I greet them at the door.  “Shake, eye, nod.”

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