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One of the most important things I do each day is give my students a goodbye hug or high five as they leave for the day. Once the bell rings, on their way out, they have the option to choose what they want to do. Every. Single. Day.
Now, you would think all the girls would give hugs and the boys would give high-fives. However, it really doesn’t work that way. Some kids alternate every day and others consistently love the hug or really just prefer the high five. The joy is that it is completely up to them.
By giving my students the option of whether they want to hug or high five, they aren’t put in any uncomfortable position. I actually have a few students who really prefer a fist bump and I’m totally OK with that.
How does this show students you care?
My reasoning behind this is that, unfortunately, a lot of kids never really get hugs or any sort of affection at home. So, I feel it is important to make sure that every student has the opportunity to feel love each and every day…of the school week. I can’t control what happens on the weekends, but I can definitely affect our time spent together Monday-Friday. And all it takes is a simple gesture.
This is effective for every student you have in your classroom. It is great for those students who would never initiate a hug, but really want one. The ones that are either too shy or feel too cool to give their teacher a hug. If you are a teacher, I’m sure you are thinking about that one or few students in particular right now.
This is also great for the student you are constantly getting on to. At the end of the day, you are non-verbally telling them that no matter what happened during the day, you still love and care about them. That is a huge concept for students to wrap their minds around. Getting in trouble doesn’t involve emotion. If you make a mistake, you get a consequence. It doesn’t affect the way I feel about you and it doesn’t mean you are a bad child. You get a consequence because of the choice. However, at the end of the day, I still care about you.
A quick goodbye to each student takes maybe a minute but can have a lasting effect on some students. Some students might wait all day for that split second of love and compassion directed towards them. If a simple action can make a child’s day, then why not do it? What ways do you show your students you care?
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