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How To Welcome Students Back To In-Person Learning

Many children are heading back to school for in-person instruction after months of virtual learning. How can teachers welcome them and help students feel seen?

In this short video, Michael Grinder, the pioneer of nonverbal communication, discusses ways teachers can greet students of all age levels and help them feel more comfortable.

Read the modified transcript to “How To Welcome Students Back To In-Person Learning.”

You know, a lot of us are starting the school year, 2021 in the autumn – at least in the United States – in terms of coming out of COVID and trying to be face-to-face with people.

How can you welcome your students back to in-person learning?

If you want, consider that all jobs, not just teaching, are made up of three ingredients:

  1. Working with your hands
  2. Working with ideas
  3. Working with people.

Based on the grade level and the subject you teach, you’ll have all three of those in teaching, but the biggest thing, coming out of COVID, is to be people-oriented.

Spend a little more time to prepare yourself before the students arrive so that you can be at the door. Greet the students and welcome them. Not just the first week — greet them at least for the first month.

The students need to know you see them as human beings. They need to know that their worth in your eyes is not based on how they are as an academic person, but they are worthy because they’re human beings. Make sure to smile. Make sure to greet them.

How to nonverbally welcome older children back to in-person learning

Now when you get to middle school, you can’t smile at all of the students. Sometimes you have to go for the first three that come through the door, “Good morning, good morning, good morning.” Here comes the fourth one – don’t make eye contact, don’t be so happy. Look down and say, “morning.” You have to vary how you indicate “I see you” so they feel seen even when you don’t make eye contact.

Michael Grinder here. We’re coming out of COVID, and people-oriented skills are what we need. Thank you for being an educator.

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