Have you ever been in a shop, waiting to be served, and the shop assistant has COMPLETELY ignored you?
How did that make you feel?
Insignificant? Annoyed? Disgruntled? Angry?
It’s amazing how much those first few seconds of interaction (or not) with the shop assistant alter our mood and set the tone for the rest of the exchange.
That’s because the way we feel, drives the way we behave.
So our encounter with the shop assistant is likely to be less than satisfactory. The way we behave towards them, may be less than exemplary.
It’s exactly the same when your pupils enter your classroom in the morning.
If your head is down, because you’re busy with marking, paperwork, handouts, lost glue stick lids…
….and you fail to acknowledge your children, they feel it.
It’s a tiny rebuff, every single time it happens. Over time, this common mistake that busy adults make, gradually eats away at the relationship between pupils and staff and can lead to pupils ‘acting up’ to gain adult attention.
And here’s why: humans have a fundamental need to feel as if they belong. We are naturally sociable creatures. We do not like to be isolated or ignored.
Adults in school are therefore massively influential in a pupil’s sense of inclusion and belonging. If the children feel that you care about them, like them, and want them to be there, they are much more likely to want to listen to you and work with you.
So, it’s vital that adults make the time every day, to connect with pupils; make eye contact, smile, show them that you are pleased to see them.
Some schools even decide to take their meet and greet one step further; offering a handshake to each student as they arrive. A gesture which communicates a crystal clear message: we like you, you are welcome here.