Creating a Caring Classroom Linky

I'm linking up with Christi over at the wonderful blog, Mrs. Fultz's Corner, for this linky:

Back in the day, the profound advice I received (and a teacher really did say this) when starting out the new year was, "don't smile until Christmas." A teacher should be stern at the start of the year, so the kids know you mean business. Really?? Looking back, I can say that was THE most unsound advice I've ever received in my entire teaching career. During my 25 years of teaching, I have found that to truly create a caring classroom, you must start off the year being yourself. SMILE! Laugh! Have fun! Show the kids who you are. Unless you are a grumpy old teacher, they should see the real YOU!

Teachers can establish routines and procedures without being "mean". It is possible to be firm and kind at the same time. Remember that you set the tone of that room!

Something I make a point of doing is to Greet my students at the door each and every morning with a "Good Morning" and a smile, and a handshake, a high five, a fist bump, whatever! It is amazing how much you can gauge your kids, and the day, at this time. Is anyone sad? Did anyone come to school feeling ill? Who is happy today? At the door is the perfect time to hear little going-ons in their lives. Who scored a goal the night before. Who finished their book. Who has a birthday. The same goes for the afternoon. As students exit your room to go home, be there! Give hugs, a smile, words of encouragement. Reminders for the evening. "Good luck at your game." "Finish up that book." "Study your math facts. You can do it. "I know tomorrow will be a better day." Say anything that may be unique to that student.

To make kids feel good and to create a caring classroom, your words and gestures are your greatest commodity. Your room may be decorated to the nines. You may have the greatest centers or cutest handouts. None of those matter if you don't SHOW the kids how you feel about them.  Reach out to that one (or two) that may be giving you heartache. Take time to find out about them. Your words alone could change how that child feels about themselves and how they feel about school.

This very simple gesture that will go a long way in establishing a caring classroom. Kids know when you truly care about them. Be genuine. Be real. Be yourself. EVERYDAY!


  1. I have this same philosophy as you! One of my first year students told me I made them feel like a real human being! That made me smile and was so nice to hear! Keep up the good work!!

  2. Sound advice, and KIND words! Our middles school smarties aren't all in our team classroom at the end of the day, but my teammate and I have a bus exit door right at our classrooms. We teach the kids to exit through that door. We stand there for bus duty and use a dry erase board with messages and reminders. They love it. We still have 7th graders that go through our exit door to see us.

    Coffee Cups and Lesson Plans

  3. I agree with you. I am a happy person who loves to be silly with my students. I am like that from day one. I expect them to follow the rules and procedures, but I don't need to be mean or yell to do that.

    Every morning I have the students come to say hello to me and they can either give me a hug or a high-five. They love it and so do I. I had some kids who just needed a hug every morning and it gave them a great start to get that hug.

    Mrs. Pauley’s Kindergarten

  4. I absolutely agree with the greeting as the enter. Last year I even started making it a point for them to come shake my hands before they left as well (even though that's the craziest time of day for us). That way if they had a bad day or were frustrated for any reason-it was almost like saying "don't worry about it".


  5. So true!! I make it a point to greet at the door and say good morning to every child every day. It is great modeling for them because it seems so many children have no clue how to properly greet someone (eye contact, smile, hello...etc). I also like to notice something about each child (oh, I notice you're wearing your sparkles today or super cute haircut). It really sends the message that you care and that you notice their existence. I don't remember too many teachers doing a door greeting when I was in school. Great post, Gina!

  6. Thank you SO much for this. I am a student teacher, and I completely forgot about the "don't smile for the first week/month/9 weeks" rule...but so far, so good! I'm glad to see that you CAN have successful classroom management with kindness!


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