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This content is taken from the National STEM Learning Centre's online course, Managing Behaviour for Learning. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 5 seconds Hello, and welcome to week two of our behavior management course. This week, we’re going to look at routines, and boundaries, and expectations for your students. A great lesson starts at the door. Any teacher will tell you that a good start to the lesson means everything. With a good start, you have every chance of having a great lesson. So my behavior management starts at the door with early intervention. Early intervention for me is intervening before they walk into the classroom. And I’m not going to meet and greet aggressively. I’m going to make my learners feel important and valued and appreciated at the door. Yes, even those students, the ones in your mind, you’re thinking, I wish you’d stayed at home today.

Skip to 0 minutes and 55 seconds You know those students probably need your welcome more than ever. The meet and greet is critical. Spend some time on it. I shake the hand of every student that comes in. And yeah, for the first week, they walk away from me going, who’s the shaky hand man at the door? And after a week, we got 15 different types of greeting. That first two minutes of the lesson is the most important cameo performance that you can give, a short burst of energy to inject eagerness and enthusiasm into your students. Smiling at them, being pleased to see them, reminding them of what happened last week, asking them about their weekend.

Skip to 1 minute and 41 seconds Great teachers start to meet and greet not because it’s just a nice idea, but because they know it has a real impact on their learners’ approach to their lesson. A meet and greet is not just for when you have time to do it. It should be part of your teaching routine. And look, I know that some days you don’t bounce out of bed looking forward to teaching double year nine on a Friday morning. But that moment of meet and greet is worth summoning every bit of energy you have for. Make your learners feel important. Make them feel valued.

Skip to 2 minutes and 18 seconds Make them feel appreciated before they’ve even walked into your classroom, and you have every chance of having a lesson that is calm, and well-disciplined, and well-managed.

Meet and greet

Excellent behaviour management starts at the door of the classroom with an Oscar winning performance. The first few minutes are critical. Plan and rehearse it well.

Your performance as a teacher is a series of brilliant cameo roles. Short bursts of highly engaging performance designed to inject eagerness into every student. Your enthusiasm must be infectious and your direction unstoppable. In the first few minutes you are meeting, greeting, smiling, being pleased to see them, (yes, even those who you might rather had stayed at home), handing out responsibilities, making students feel, not just important but irreplaceable, ‘Thank goodness you have arrived! Your algebraic skills are much needed today.’

It is your performance that breaks them out of their breakfast/journey to school/‘What’s on Snapchat?’ mindset and flips them into learning. Early intervention is at the door. You are marking the line between their social lives and the learning, between informality and formality, between freedom and responsibility.

Change the way you meet and greet students over this week. Be proactive, make them feel welcome, demonstrate your enthusiasm for teaching them.

Video Summary

Start as you mean to go on.

First impressions count. If it’s true that people make a judgement about others within 3 seconds of meeting them, then perhaps the same could be said about each lesson a student attends. It’s you that sets the tone for the lesson that’s going to influence any student learning that happens.

Meeting and greeting students at the door is of paramount importance. It’s you that can help them feel important, valued and appreciated before they even enter the room, especially early in the year when relationships haven’t been fully established.

Your non-verbal behaviours and words you use are crucial when creating the atmosphere conducive to learning. Smiling, friendly eye contact and open hand gestures lay the foundations for your tone of voice and words and phrases that follow.

'Good morning!'
'Thanks for being on time.'
'Uniform is looking good today, thank you!'
'Hello, lovely day!'
'Thanks for being on time, come on in.'

Wrapped around these communication skills is your personal energy, which both you and I know is hard summon on some days - but we make it happen because it’s important. If you want calm, disciplined and well-mannered lessons, start as you mean to go and model the kinds of attitude and energy you want in your classroom.


In the video Paul talks about welcoming students, and his example of shaking hands (which we obviously cannot do during the current pandemic). What approaches have you used, or could you use, to ensure students are welcomed into your classroom or teaching lab?

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This video is from the free online course:

Managing Behaviour for Learning

National STEM Learning Centre