Connection and Community in Record Time

I have a friend, Mrs. G, who is an incredibly gifted elementary school teacher. She subs regularly at our kids’ school. This morning, I heard her voice coming from one of the Kindergarten classrooms. It was circle time. I was intrigued to learn how she would navigate this important part of the day when kids transition from home to classroom. The teacher plays a key role in creating a sense of community and smoothing the transition. How do you create that safe space when you don’t know the kids?!

I stopped just outside the door to listen (yes, yes, I eavesdropped).

Sometimes, it’s the small stuff that really matters. Mrs. G did something that was so subtle yet so effective. She said each of their names, made sure she was saying it correctly and then said, “Hello, Jimmy.” One student’s name was Kate on the roster and the student said she preferred Katie. So Mrs. G said, “Thank you for letting me know which you prefer. Hello, Katie.”  In 11 words, or 60 characters, she created a connection and welcomed the student to the community.

What’s so great about this? Her goal was to create connection and community in record time. If she had simply called off their names to make sure they were present, she would’ve been able to check something off her to-do list (attendance–check!), but wouldn’t have achieved her goal.

We can do a lot without achieving a lot. Mrs. G did a little and achieved a lot because she was clear on her goal.

Are you clear on your goals?