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! 🙂
May 2, 2017 at 2:36 pm
One of the many things that I love about my school is the positive morning (and all day) culture. The kids notice, appreciate, and respond to that culture.
May 2, 2017 at 10:50 pm
Most here would say the same. Our 8th grade team really tries to keep the positive vibe going! 🙂
May 2, 2017 at 4:32 pm
I needed this reminder, especially as we near the end of the school year! Sometimes, as the year comes to a close, I get bogged down in everything that I need to finish before the kids get out and it stresses me out. I’m sure the students notice this in me! I will be better at making sure I greet my students warmly, with a smile on my face. And while the answer for them may not be coffee, it definitely is the answer to MY prayers! 🙂 Thank you so much for the reminder and for sharing!
May 3, 2017 at 8:38 am
I’m not true coffee drinker, we brew half-caff with some funky organic creamer. But, just like coffee, if we get in that habit of a smile in the morning, that routine is hard to break! 🙂
May 2, 2017 at 7:44 pm
I love the parallel you drew here! I never thought of it that way. I will use this to bring some new energy to my ‘welcoming self’ each morning. I’m sure my students will benefit from it, as you say, even if not right away.
May 3, 2017 at 8:36 am
I love that “welcoming self” idea. 🙂
May 2, 2017 at 8:12 pm
Welcome to the memory club…I’ve been carrying my notebook for years!!!!!!!! It’s also fun to look back on, and now it’s kind of become my journal/diary, unintentionally.
May 2, 2017 at 9:20 pm
Darin, you are so right! I hope you don’t mind if I share a short piece 🙂 A few years ago my brother was asked to be a guest at a Rotary Club meeting. A very successful businesswoman was being honored. She wanted him there. Why? Because she wanted to tell him in front of everyone who was honoring her what he meant to her. She had been a very underprivileged, neglected child, a student at his school. Each morning my brother, the principal, stood at the entrance and greeted students. She was often late, ill dressed. But he always had a smile for her and caring and confidence building words for her. She credited him with her ability to become successful. In all those years, he’d had no clue.
May 3, 2017 at 8:35 am
That is exactly what I needed after yesterday debacle of a day! Kids were terrible, wrote some awful things about other students and the school, and I went home feeling pretty defeated. Your comment certainly has brighten my day, and gives me hope that we are doing the right thing, every day. 🙂 Thank you!