Greetings! Not as in “Greetings, Earthlings!”, but as in “Good Morning, Students!”  I am teaching a late-start ENG101 class, so it is the beginning of the semester for me. I know we were all taught to stand in the doorway of the classroom, greeting each student, and shaking their hands as the semester begins. I do that the first day.  I also try to individually welcome them every day, though often I am welcoming them as a group. I always write on the board, before any information, “Welcome Back!” What prompted me to write this post, though, was that I recently read that it is a spiritual act to initiate greetings and smile at as many people as you can, every day. The initiation, rather the passive reaction, is considered very important, as it is a signal to the other that you see him/her as a unique person deserving respect and honor. Since I read this, I am increasing my initiation of greetings on campus, smiling at people I don’t know instead of shyly narrowing my focus to where I am going, and the response has been so positive. As I believe most of us do, I try hard to pronounce the student’s name correctly, not settling for “however you want to say it”, but working hard to say it correctly. (I do this not only to show respect, but also to re-enforce the importance of words. )Even if the student smiles at my bumbling attempts, it seems to be appreciated. Though most students respond positively to a hello and their names, I always have a few students who look right past me and do not respond; as a result, I sometimes stop addressing them in this way. However, today I was determined to keep up the practice, even if ignored! And the student who had been ignoring me actually gave me eye contact and a slight smile! So hello to you, my fellow posters! Please send me any other tips you have for starting to build community and trust at the beginning of the semester.

One thought on “Greetings!”

  1. Debra- Loved your message about greeting others we do not know. A friendly smile or Hello conveys respect and creates a warm community feeling. If the recipient does not respond the way we expect, that’s OK. Who knows what might be happening in their life.

    Students thrive in a class where they feel welcome and safe. It sounds like you create that environment for your students.


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