Greetings in Higher Ed – Increasing Warmth & Sincerity

Greeting in Higher Ed, Hello and Welcome
Photo by Karolina Szczur on Unsplash

When was the last time you greeted your class in a warm and sincere way?  Have you ever said “I’m glad you’re here today” or “I’m really happy to see you! How was your week”?

“Hospitality as Pedagogy”

A few weeks ago, I had an opportunity to participate in a digital pedagogy professional development session at Ryerson University presented by  and . The session was hosted by Sean Michael Morris @slamteacher and Jesse Stommel @Jessifer. Sean briefly shared the notion of “hospitality as pedagogy” which made me think about my favorite hospitality brand, the Ritz-Carlton who’s Steps of Service includes “a warm and sincere greeting“.

Personalized Handshakes

Have you seen those videos of elementary teachers who have personalized handshakes for their students? Students must feel amazing knowing that they have something special and unique with their teacher. You gotta think it sets the tone for the day. (What would or could this look like in higher ed.?)

Greetings in Higher Ed – a quick trial

I had a rare opportunity today to deliver two 30 minute classes to high school students.  In 30 minutes, I had to create a rapport, get the students on board, and teach something. There was not a lot of time to build meaningful relationships. Knowing that, I figured today would be the perfect opportunity to try a new approach to building these connections.

  • First class: I prepared for my students in advance. I had a little music playing, said hello as students entered the classroom, and went further to introduce myself and shake hands between the rows.
  • Second class:  This started off a little rocky. I went into a new room where the students were waiting for me to get started, and many were cocooned in their coats.  It was obvious to me that they didn’t want to be there.  Or was that the case?  Rather than just pushing thru, I kept to my plan and I started shaking hands. As a result, guards went down, participation went up, and I stood by the door to say goodbye.

What I’d do Differently Next Time

  • I really liked roaming the rows and welcoming students into the class and engaging them in short dialogues.  What I might not do is shake students’ hands.  I wonder if that would create anxiety?  Plus I would not have enough time to shake everyone’s hands so would that create some sort of inequity? Does everyone feel comfortable to shake a hand with someone new? Handshakes aren’t necessarily universal to greeting everyone in a culturally diverse classroom either.
  • And rather than shaking hands, I’ll lean in slightly.


This is post 4/9, in participation with ecampusontario’s #9x9x25 challenge  Other posts include: UDL Win: Word’s Immersive Reader and You Gotta Eat Dessert First – Recruiting Interest


One Reply to “Greetings in Higher Ed – Increasing Warmth & Sincerity”

  1. If I ever get a chance to experience the Ritz-Carlton I’ll let you know if I agree about their hospitality! Great reflection and connection between your own PD opps and the learning experiences you are providing.

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