- Engage with others better by being intentional about how you are acknowledging them.
- Create a sense of belonging by offering a personal greeting or a compliment.
- Don’t let anyone feel invisible as you walk by them in the hallway.
- The cafeteria is a great place to interact with students outside of the classroom.
I love a good challenge! Last week in our Teach Better Ambassador group, Brad Hughes shared a wonderful weekly challenge. Brad challenged us all to acknowledge everyone that we came across during that week. We were to let no one pass by unacknowledged. We all embraced this challenge and looked forward to acknowledging everyone we interacted with during the week. This could be our family, neighbors, colleagues, students, or the stranger you pass in the grocery store.
As I spent the week being more intentional about how I was acknowledging people, I realized the implication this has for us to engage better! As we know, engagement goes beyond creating fun and interactive lessons.
Engaging with others is a way for them to be seen. I know that I was seeing people this week. When I passed by the nurse’s office, I didn’t wait to see if she lifted her head to notice me passing by the door, I stopped and said, “good morning.” I took the opportunity to see and acknowledge her.One way to create a sense of belonging in our schools for everyone is by seeing them. No one wants to come to school and feel invisible all day. Click To Tweet
Engage with Others: Create a Sense of Belonging
One way to create a sense of belonging in our schools for everyone is by seeing them. No one wants to come to school and feel invisible all day. One of my favorite parts of the day is morning drop-off. I love the excitement and anticipation of a new day. I greet each student and adult I see as they pass by me to enter the building.
And I offer a personal greeting and often a compliment, such as I love your new shirt. Your hair looks beautiful this morning. Did you get new sneaks? They look fantastic.
Some of these students glow when they feel seen and noticed. We may never know how much these simple acknowledgments may mean to students. You may find out from a teacher later in the day that one of your compliments was shared by the student to her teacher, “Mrs. French said my hair looked beautiful today.”
Engage with Others: Give a Compliment
Has anyone ever given you an unexpected compliment that resonated with you? A compliment that made you feel good, feel noticed, feel valued? Our students want that feeling also. They will often repeat that behavior (wear their hair the same way, the new sneakers, or repeat a behavior they received their compliment for) just to hear those words and have that feeling again.
It’s human nature to desire that sense of belonging and to be seen. How can we leverage this challenge to acknowledge others to create that feeling of belonging for everyone in our school community?
Engage with Others: Spread Joy Down the Hallway
I am committed to acknowledging and engaging with everyone I meet while walking down the hallway. This may be just an acknowledging nod if the other person(s) are involved in a conversation I don’t want to interrupt, or it can be more of a “hello, I’m happy to see you today.” I’ve also been known to give silent waves to students walking quietly in line with their class. I used to sometimes sneak in a quiet high five here and there also. Don’t let anyone feel invisible as you walk down the hallway.
The cafeteria is another place that is just waiting for you to come and engage with students. You usually have a seated and welcoming audience. I love visiting table to table and just checking in with students. It gives me an opportunity to check in with and see specific students and ask how their day is going or connect about something I know about them.[scroll down to keep reading]
Engage with Others: A Challenge for YOU
So my challenge to you this week is to be intentional about acknowledging anyone you come into contact with. Don’t limit it to just your classroom or school. We can all use a friendly “hello,” “good morning,” a wave, nod, or some acknowledgment that we are being seen and recognized during these times. You will be surprised by the reactions you will get and how something so simple can brighten your day as well as those around you.
About Bobbie French
Bobbie French is an educational leader, presenter and writer from Massachusetts.
Bobbie has been an educator for over 24 years. She has been an elementary guidance counselor, classroom teacher, special education coordinator, Title I Director, Preschool Director and Administrator.
Bobbie is passionate about focusing on the whole child and creating an environment where all students have a sense of belonging. She appreciates and recognizes the hard work of teachers, and is committed to supporting others to be their best for kids every day. Her passion and enthusiasm for creating a positive and engaging school culture is contagious.
Bobbie is also an avid photographer and loves to tell her school’s story.