The handshake at the beginning

I don’t know why, but I really avoided giving each student a handshake at the beginning of class for a little while. I guess I felt that it was not completely necessary as long as I was positive in class. However, there was always something in me that said I needed to shake their hand and I couldn’t get rid of the picture of Harry Wong in his book The First Days of School with his little vest and his hand extended out with gusto.

Well, for the last week I really made an effort to shake the students hands as they enter. Some days I decided not to do it to see what would happen. The results? I really noticed a difference when I shook their hand. The class seemed to respond so much better. Also, I felt closer to class and that helped to make the environment more relaxed, but still have a focused feeling.

I never knew that it would make such a difference, but I guess when you think about it does make sense. I need to keep doing this! I think that connecting with each of my students on a personal level just before class can more of a difference than I thought. Who knows, perhaps that is the only connection they will have all day.



Filed under Teaching Discoveries

4 responses to “The handshake at the beginning

  1. What a wonderful place this is to visit. Your thoughts and observations are so good for all of us. I’m so impressed with how easily you share your observations. Having just started a blog myself, I am not nearly so comfortable! I’ll be back for more. :o)
    with love,

  2. Hi Thomas, thanks for reminding me of this. When I first attended a TPRS presentation by Von Ray, he also shook hands and addressed everyone personally before we started. This was completely new to me and it had a big impact. I felt really welcome, and at that very moment I decided to do the same if I ever were to give a workshop.
    Then, when I did start to give workshops, at first I was far too nervous to shake hands and have a little chat with people. Now that I read your blog, this won’t happen again. Shake hands!

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