Last week, we introduced Dr. Hal Urban's first part of this trilogy guest blog. We hope you enjoyed it. Don't forget to visit Dr. Urban's website at www.halurban.com.
Have a great week,
... the CSCL
"Warning - On the first day of the school year this throws quite a few students off. Most of them have never been greeted at the door by a teacher, they don’t know me, and some are a bit awkward in receiving my welcome. Many of them look at the floor, mumble when I ask them their names, and give me a handshake that feels like a dead fish. I realized from the first time I did this that it was an opportunity to not only greet my students, but to teach some valuable social skills.
Sadly, too many of our students need help in this area. On that first day of school we had a wonderful discussion about why I was at the door and would be there every day, and about the importance of having good social skills. These were high school kids, and many of them learned for the first time that when you meet another person, there are four things you do: 1. make eye contact, 2. smile, 3. speak clearly, 4. give a firm handshake. I not only taught those social skills, I reinforced them every day.
A few words about the physical part of the greeting – People need to be touched. It’s good to start with a handshake, but as they got to know me and felt more comfortable, things changed. I told them there were three minimum requirements during our daily greeting – eye contact, smile, speak clearly. But the handshake was an option.
They could greet me any way they wanted, as long as they were comfortable and polite. Kids don’t usually shake hands with each other, so most of them greeted me the way they greeted their friends - a high five, a low five, a fist bump, a shoulder jab, a back slap, a hug, and a few others. We made that all-important personal connection every day before class started. It was a critical part of the Caring Community we created. "