I’m home today. An unexpected circumstance caused me to miss a day of school. The bright side, I got to bundle up all three of my girls and walk Wren to school. I hardly ever get to be the one to bring her to school, to give her a hug before her school day begins, to watch her backpack disappear as she enters the school building.
As I kissed her goodbye, she walked around the double stroller to say goodbye to her sisters. We watched her walk through the door, right past four adults. I watched, curious to see if they knew her name. How would they greet the kids entering the building after the weekend?
They didn’t. They never even glanced her way, just kept chatting with each other. Wren just kept walking, eyes focused ahead. Her eyes didn’t light up the way they used to at her old school where the teachers greeted her right at the car door, helping her out and to get her backpack on. My heart sank.
On the walk home, I tried to brush off the disappointed feeling I was left with. Maybe they usually do greet the kids. Someone will greet her when she gets inside. It’s not that big a deal Jess… let it go.
But it is a big deal. One of my favorite quotes from Responsive Classroom comes from a section on Morning Meeting. “It matters that you came.” I want the students at my school to know that they matter and I want the same for my own kids at school.
Small gestures like greeting kids by name or with a smile can help them to know that they belong and that their presence is significant. Kids are also always watching and learning from our example. I’m always conscious of what I’m teaching through the way I interact with students and adults. Today, maybe more than ever, I truly believe that the social curriculum is just as important as the academic.
Today when Wren gets home I’ll talk to her about how she can say good morning to the adults as she enters the building. Maybe the change I hope to see starts with me and with Wren. Perhaps the next time I get to bring her to school, I’ll see her face light up as she is the one to greet the adults and they’ll know it matters that they came.