Making a Connection

Posted by on Mar 7, 2013 in Uncategorized | 2 comments

How you do it

  • Make sure your handshake is firm, not a dead fish grip. However, you don’t want to crush the other person’s hand.
  • Make sure you don’t have food or grease on your hands. You want the person to rememberyou, not what you ate.
  • If your hands are sweaty, give them a quick nonchalant wipe on your pants.
  • When you offer your hand, look the person in the eye and smile.

from The Art of Manliness blog

Our principal and counselor went to a training this summer which was to help us provide children a more powerful connection to their classroom and school. One of the simplest ideas they came away with was greeting the children at the doorway each morning with a handshake. We were asked to give it a try. Most teachers did not, they were concerned about yucky unclean hands and germs.

I, however, embraced this idea. Since the first day, I have met my children, welcomed them by name, looked them in the eye, and shook their hands. They have learned, some quickly and many with much modeling, to respond with a firm handshake, a return greeting (by name) and a look in the eye. They are now really quite expert at offering their hand and politely shaking.

Each morning I have, literally,  a personal connection and a chance to be positive, inspiring, funny, sympathetic  or whatever is needed. The children each have a chance to confide, share, laugh, etc. They look forward to this and if I cannot be at the door for some reason, they walk up to me ready to shake hands.

Today I am at home sick. I have the same running nose crud that has been going around my classroom. I realized that this is my third sick day this year, when typically I do not need to take any. I realized this connection yesterday morning when I said to my colleague across the hall that, perhaps, I shouldn’t shake hands this morning as I wouldn’t want to give them my germs. A light bulb went off in my head, as I realized where those germs had originated.

Do I want to stop shaking their hands? I don’t think so. We have indeed established a wonderful routine and a deeper connection. Will I want to continue this routine next year? I am not sure. But I do know this, I will be buying more hand sanitizer and walking down the hall to wash my hands more often!

Hand washingHand washing free poster


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Stay healthy, but stay connected to those kids!



  1. I do this also. It’s essential to building a relationship and it also teaches cultural norms. When we had to switch classes during the day, I would do some playful ones, like whispering, “Shhhh, don’t wake the baby,” as they crossed threshold! They would tiptoe in. Or ask them to walk backward, hop, etc.

    • That sounds like a great idea!

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