This morning I needed to pick up a thank you card for a friend, so I traveled out of the way because I didn’t write it down in the book I carry everywhere with me. One of the issues I have with the stroke, my memory, which was suspect to begin with, just sucks now. Part of it is turning 46 (damn, I’m old), but part of it was injured and there’s not much I can do but find workarounds. One of those workaround is my Hawkeye notebook. I carry it with me, in hand (so I don’t lose it!) to and from school, and when there’s something I need to remember, I write it down!

So, I didn’t write down I needed a card, thus the trip to town.

I decided I needed some breakfast, so I stopped at the local Casey’s convenience store and grabbed a piece of breakfast pizza and a Diet Coke. Breakfast of champions I know, but I’ve not taken care of my body the last two weekends by eating like crap, so my body craves this stuff.

Anyway, as I’m waiting in line, I people watched, not that there’s much diversity in our little neck of the woods, but because of the attitude. It’s Tuesday morning, and I enjoy watching people to check our their attitude about the day. Are they tired? Mad the world? Are they smiling? Frowning? Loud? Quiet?

But it’s the woman behind the counter who grabbed my attention. Each person who came in, regardless of how they were looking as they came in, they got a smile, a “good morning” and a question (“How are you today?” “Just wake up??” “What’s going on out there, is snowing??”). All the questions were asked with a smile, and just about everyone who was questioned, smiled back, and responded. Then when they came to pay, they were made to feel welcome, told to have a good day, and sent off with a smile.


Imagine if our schools were this way. If everyone person, regardless of age, attitude, background, color, or whatever else kids are judged by, felt welcomed as they walked into school? A smile, a good morning, maybe a high five or two goes so far to help students calm down, relax, and prepare for the day. A couple of days ago, we were having an impromptu meeting of our 8th grade team, and students walked up to us and said, “What’s going on? This is the first time no one’s been here to greet me!!” They notice! They notice our attitudes towards them, they notice our smiles, and they notice who we notice. Today, as I watched our 8th graders come in, I saw the same thing I saw at Caseys: students, just like adults who wouldn’t make eye contact, but who smiled shyly and responded to our greeting. You know that connection will make a difference. If not now, then someday down the line.

To wrap this up, think about that woman as you are preparing for your day. Do you greet your students? Do they see you smile and laugh in the morning as they come in? Do they feel welcomed into your room? Your school? If so, keep up the good work! If not, what you you do to help change that morning culture for the better? What can you do to help those students who need that morning emotional pick me up?

And no, coffee is NOT the answer! 🙂