Meet Them at the Door

Meet Them at the Door

You may ask, "So, when and where do we establish this rapport?" The answer is both simple and complex—all the time, and everywhere.

Let's begin with the very first interaction we have with students, which is often when they walk through the door of our classroom on the first day of class. That's when many of them will form their first opinions and attitudes about the class, so let's spend a minute viewing things from the doorway. Please click on the image of the doorway.

From the doorway, your students will see two things you have control over—you and the classroom. And while your classroom has some influence over your level of rapport with students, the rapport you begin to establish simply by the way you greet them is far more important.

Stand at the door and make greeting your students a frequent (if not a daily) habit. Your greeting can quickly establish the level of professionalism, fun and comfort you hope will continue during the day's class. Make sure you have a smile on your face, and the rest of the steps for greeting your students at the door are simple.

Step 1: Welcome them and introduce yourself.

At first, this welcome may be a bit more formal, such as, "Welcome to the skills lab, I’m Ms. Parker" or, "Good afternoon, I'm Mr. Green."

As you get to know your students, this welcome may become somewhat more informal. Examples might include, "What's new today?" or "What's up?" or "Hey, good to see you this morning!"

The key is to always maintain a friendly yet professional relationship with your students—and to meet them where they are. And of course, you won't need to continue including an introduction as your students learn your name.

Step 2: Physically welcome your students.

Your physical welcome on Day One might look different than it does as you get to know your students. At first, you might extend your hand for a handshake. Later, you might greet students with a high five, fist bump, special hand shake or some other physical motion that is comfortable for you and your students, but not unprofessional. Not every student needs to be greeted in the same way.

Step 3: Get their names.

When you are just getting to know your students, ask their names and really listen when they tell you what it is. You will show you care and you will begin building a personal relationship with them. At the end of day two, you might inform the students that when they next walk into the classroom, not to state their name as you will be giving yourself a quiz over their names. Have fun with it!

Step 4: Acknowledge their names and show that you appreciate their presence.

Let the student know you are glad they are there and acknowledge that you heard or know their name. "It's great to meet you, Sara" or "I’m glad to have you back, Gary" or "Thanks for smiling this morning, Ben. You made my day."

As you get to know your students, this appreciation and acknowledgement might come in the form of a short conversation about what happens in your student's life outside of the classroom. "Hey Alex! That was a great touchdown pass in the football game last night" or "Morgan, I hear you are doing an outstanding job with the mentoring program". Let your students know you care beyond the content you obviously care about.

Step 5: Provide directions, when appropriate.

The doorway is a great place to get your students in the right frame of mind for learning by providing some direction. After you have already let your students know you care about them personally, directions or requests become much easier to get results from.

"Make sure you turn in the work you promised before you sit down." "Please sit at table three today." "Please get out today's lab materials for the class after you put down your books." "Sharpen your pencil before we get class started."

Your directions or requests must be action-oriented, but your tone of voice and facial expression will communicate more than your words.

Click on the samples button on your screen to view samples of phrases you can use in each of the five steps outlined during this portion of the Establish Rapport section.

Now it's time to get clear on how your voice affects your rapport. Click on the Next button.

Last modified: Monday, 9 July 2012, 04:16 PM