Closer connections with students?

In our department meeting today, we had a guest speaker from the Wellness Department* who talked with us about building closer connections with students, an atmosphere of trust, and greater engagement by our students. All good things, certainly. Part of the pitch was that the few minutes spent on such tasks in each lesson would more than pay off in increased learning, and I do believe that.

So why do I feel uncomfortable about the whole idea? I suppose it’s because it just doesn’t feel like me. Even the initial idea, shaking hands with each student on entering the classroom, feels unnatural; I’m not at all convinced that I could carry it off. The speaker says that his students not only welcome this practice but explicitly ask for it if he forgets. Maybe so, but I can’t see myself doing it.

On the other hand, I don’t want to rule out the idea, either in detail or in the big picture, and I’m willing to try. I’m even willing to sign up for a proposed summer workshop on the subject, if the calendar permits.

* Yes, I know…

Categories: Teaching & Learning, Weston