(BLOG 18) Showing Students they Matter, matters.

Check out a quick video regarding this topic:

At the beginning of every training I playfully ask the attendees to yell, “Hi Kevin!” When I hear them yell it back to me, I comment that it makes me feel welcome and probably even more importantly, it makes me feel like I matter to them. Sure, I force the BIG hello, but I’m not shy about letting them know I want to matter to them.

What we have learned about student engagement is simple and crucial. Name Matters, Voice Matters, and Belonging Matters. When students hear their name, hear their voice, and feel like they belong, the likelihood of them engaging is far higher than the likelihood of them disengaging.

Four at the Door is a great way to show students that they matter, which in and of itself is reason enough to implement it. The extra bonus of upping student engagement is another great reason.

Four at the Door works as follows: The teacher stands at the door and greets their students by including the following suggested points:

  • Name to Name: The teacher greets the student and uses their name.
  • Eye to Eye: The teacher isn’t looking at their phone or computer screen. Give the student eye contact to show them you see them as a human and that they matter.
  • Hand to Hand: The teacher offers some form of appropriate human contact like a high five, a fist bump, a handshake, etc. Keep in mind cultural norms to ensure touch is acceptable and/or appropriate.
  • Heart to Heart: The teacher mentions something to the student about their world. For example, the teacher could comment on the new movie that just came out, or last night’s basketball game, or anything that is of interest to that student that shows that they are known and matter.

How about a real-life example of Four at the Door in action?

When I was in high school, I constantly battled math. I went on to become an English teacher, so needless to say my strengths were in a category outside the boundaries of math’s parabolas, fractions, and FOILings. During my senior year, I was in a sophomore-level math class (regardless of the level, the majority of students in there were 10th graders). This was a situation that made me have feelings of Not Good Enough and I was fairly self-conscious around the younger students due to my abilities. All of my realties of struggling with math and the seemingly-daunting environment of the class were stacked against me and created a perfect scenario for me to DISENGAGE.

However, my teacher, Mr. Kelly Sherwin of Rosemount High School (currently of Eastview High School in Apple Valley, MN), was the game changer for my disengagement and feelings of Not Good Enough. The name of my game as a student at that time was to sneak into class undetected, sit down and become invisible (disengage). That wasn’t an option with Mr. Sherwin. I remember him being at the classroom doorway, or just inside the classroom, and he’d send me a huge greeting each day. “Hello Mr. Brennan!” “Hey Kev!” “How was the soccer game?” “Why are you late? Up to tomfoolery?” His greetings were consistent and personalized just enough to let me know that I mattered to him. I have fond memories of laughing as I would walk in and hear him call my name. He knew instinctively to engage me right at the door,…and then I was ready to learn. Mr. Sherwin’s efforts at the door ignited something in me as a student. I knew I mattered to him. I engaged more than if I was allowed to sneak in and become invisible. It’s interesting to look back and see how his efforts to treat me like a human inevitably led me to being open to math, and guess what? The CRAZIEST thing happened: I learned math and enjoyed a class I dreaded for the previous 11 years.

Thank you, Mr. Sherwin, for all you did for me as a student and for all you do for your current students!

Contact us to hear how we can open up this topic further with your faculty/staff, students, coaches, or business: