“I feel a bit sick from the bus ride.”
“I went to the beach on the weekend, it was so cool!”
“I had a fight with my Auntie this morning.”
“I told my mum thank you, because my breakfast was yummy!”
“I hope you have a great day.”
These are just a handful of comments I receive during my morning greeting duty on the doors at both The Harbour Village and The Grove.
I start the morning with a good morning ritual with students, the moment they get to school. I want them to start the day knowing that I care, and this knowledge will hopefully help them to go on to have a successful and happy day of learning. Most days, I’m the luckiest one, as I receive morning cuddles, bright smiles, and personal greetings.
Morning greeting duty is not only a way of relieving teachers from additional supervision duties first thing in the morning, but also a wonderful way to start my day as it gives me a chance to get to know students and their families. I incorporate this into my day, each and every day. I take this opportunity to connect with kids. Selfishly, it is a wonderful start to my day.
Even on the days where there are frustrations, we always take a minute to discuss them, get it “off their chests” and move forward into the day with some strategies. Sometimes, I deliver school lunches that were forgotten, sometimes I wipe away tears with a tissue and sometimes I get the lift up with a student to class because they have hurt their foot. But, every time, each and every single time, it reminds me of the importance that people are everything and that every moment is an opportunity to extend kindness.
An appreciation for the little things
At THS, we place an emphasis on showing and practicing gratitude. It’s something we thrive on, something we strive for every day. It begins at our lunchtime ritual at The Harbour Village. It is shown through our primary-wide Soul Shoppe initiative, whereby students are encouraged to be grateful towards one another to help build their positive attitude, respect and care for one another. Students write letters of gratitude to their parents at Back to School Night, and parents write back to their children.
Gratitude. It’s a little thing. So rarely asked for, more rarely given, yet so wildly important.
Gratitude not only helps to build resilience, it also helps us connect with others. I personally think it is important to set the tone every morning with staff and students. I also get to talk to students and sometimes diffuse situations in the morning by gauging their moods. School is all about building relationships and by starting the day off myself building them with students, I hope I am setting a good example. It also helps build community and a culture of trust and respect at school which creates positive energy that our students thrive on.
A “good morning” ritual is also an important way to shift focus away from what might have been a rough start to the morning. I believe that even a nonverbal acknowledgement such as a ‘thumbs-up’, transfers positivity and gives the child a little lift. Some reply to “good morning” in unison, some energetically and some, just a mumble. But it really doesn’t matter because I see them, care for and about them, I know and hear them. I love the ritual of welcoming a new day in this manner.
I feel so fortunate that my interactions with students is one of the best parts of my day here at THS. As one student says to me quite often, “You give big, squeezy hugs and they’re my favourite.” Now, that’s a great way to start the morning.