I was given a new morning duty at my school this year – outside bus duty.
At first I was a little bummed, as my previous duties included parent drop off and hallway supervision. I felt I was able to build relationships and be a positive influence on our students and families in these previous roles. Bus duty seemed like something less, and it was something I was not excited about – at first.
Yet I’ve found, as the end of the year draws near, that my time outside has been very meaningful and impactful for my students.
Building positive relationships with students is one of the most important first steps in being an effective teacher. This video went viral, showing how these positive relationships might look – with personalized student greetings at the door! It’s an amazing example of a high energy high effort way to build positive relationships with students.
But building positive relationships doesn’t have to be high effort all the time. What I learned during bus duty this year, is that positive relationships can be built anytime, anywhere. All you need is a positive word, and consistency.
Consistency Can Be Key
After just a few days of bus duty, my outlook on my morning changed. I no longer viewed my position as “wasted” time. Instead, I tried to visualize what my students would see as they came to school every day. I realized that the first contact they would have walking into school, would be me.
This opportunity was incredibly powerful. As students entered the school, they would be greeted with a smile and a friendly hello, as I held the door for them. It was a small gesture and a tiny interaction throughout the entirety of their day. But it was a positive one.
Looking back, I believe this has been very important for the students in my school. Together we’ve faced high winds, hot suns, rain, and oh so much snow. No matter the weather, no matter the day, I shared a friendly word with the students in my school as I held the door for them. Because of this, it’s been much easier to share a smile, or another friendly word, as I see these students in the halls around school (even the ones I don’t teach!).
The Power of Hello
I’m sure many of you have known for a long time the lesson I learned this year. Consistent positivity can make quite a bit of difference in the lives of our students.
Think of a challenging student, one who you might have many negative interactions with. How much effort does it take to say, “Hello” as they walk by in the hallway, or “Good Morning” as they enter school?
I consider these free interactions. It’s an easy way to stay positive, even though your last interaction may have turned negative. It is fairly low effort, but if you are able to consistently be positive during these brief interactions, you may see the beginning of a positive relationship emerge. That’s the power of being consistently positive. That’s the power of hello.