I walk into my 2nd grade classroom in the morning and greet my cooperating teacher as we both take another sip of our coffees and try to eat something before the day begins. We discuss what the day looks like and how the students did the day prior academically and behaviorally. In just a few moments, our students will walk in, sleepy-eyed and moving slowly in their light-up sneakers. Before they know it, another school day will begin and they will be stretched and challenged to learn and grow more than they even knew they could.
And it all starts with good morning.
Ms. M set the tone on day one: when we come in the door, we say good morning and give a high-five, handshake, or a hug. This simple action gives me, as well as my cooperating teacher, the chance to check on the students, ask how their weekend or night was, and get a feel for how they may be feeling that day. It also teaches the students the valuable lesson of being respectful. They get to make the choice on how they are going to interact with the teacher, but they have to choose.
Making the effort to say good morning to those the students come in contact with is so much bigger than a mere classroom expectation. “Good morning” with a hug becomes the chance to feel loved and supported when that might be something missing at home. A mumbled “good morning” says that maybe the morning has been a little rough so far.
Most of all, good morning teaches values.
It teaches students that even when they do not want to be awake; they can choose to be kind. This simple expectation makes it the students’ responsibility to participate in conversation with an adult and be a positive contributor in the classroom. Developing these skills early is incredibly important and is something that many children miss out on in everyone’s rush to get to the next thing. Sometimes it pays to take a few moments, slow down, and invest a moment into another person. I never realized the importance of “good morning” until I went to 2nd grade.
Imagine society if people took the time to say good morning to those they interact with on their way to work. If instead of keeping our gazes downcast and avoiding what we have deemed to be awkward eye contact, we look people in the eyes and say hello with a smile on our faces. These simple changes in our demeanor can change our own outlook and set the tone for how our day is going to go. You can brighten someone else’s day with a “thank you” as they hold the door, or by being the one to grab the door for another person. For in these simple acts of kindness, children see a positive role model, a helping hand, someone who is not too busy to say good morning.
What if we were like Ms. M’s students and said good morning with a handshake, high-five, or hug?
Shelby is a college student with one year before she becomes an Elementary school teacher. She loves Jesus, her family, sports and coffee! Although she would rather have control over everything in her life, she is learning that God may just be more capable. When she isn’t working or studying, you can find her spending time with her family and friends.