Saturday, December 13, 2008

High Fives, Hand Shakes & Gloves

Initially I planned to blog about our most recent newspaper deadline as well as my yearbook disaster that now requires re-PhotoShopping some 80-plus pages. But all those fun-filled stories will have to wait--all because of a recent post from my across-the-pond buddy Sarah Ebner over at the London Times entitled, “High-five your pupils everyday, teachers told.”

I must say that little ditty sent me into quite a tizzy. This little post talks about how greeting children with high-fives or handshakes will motivate students and improve test scores. I feel semi-qualified to screech about this having been victimized more than once from professional development sessions telling me to shake kids’ hands, capture their hearts, and, if I remember correctly, do something with their minds. Oh yeah, teach.

This handshaking notion started a number of years ago. I believe the folks that started it must have had stock in Bath & Body Works because I’m convinced sales from hand sanitizers soared once this handshaking business got underway. (Come now, surely you thought of all those germs floating about. Show me a school that has hot running water, soap in their dispensers and children who actually wash their hands, and I’ll show you Nirvana--and no, I’m not talking about the band either.)

I just marvel how these Greeting Guys have parlayed this handshaking, high-five business into a profitable enterprise (with individual registration fees at almost $500 a pop) and how they managed to convince school administrators--not just here in the good ole U.S. of A, but apparently globally--that the shake of a hand or some variation thereof somehow translates into better test scores. If I had known making a small fortune was that easy, I would have joined the handshaking circuit years ago or sold the Brooklyn Bridge.

But wait a darn tootin’ minute, Missy, I think there still might be time. My BFF Jennifer and I have always said that the demise of civilization and learning can be traced to when people quit wearing hats and gloves.

So forget that handshaking business. (Hails Bails! I think we can even forget about those pesky lesson plans.) Instead, let’s just slap on those cute little hats and whip out those white gloves. There’s no time to waste! We’ve got self-of-steam and test scores to raise.

6 comments:

Mister Teacher said...

I never knew it was supposed to raise test scores, but I always high five my kids when they first enter my room each day. It makes them happy, it gets them a little fired up, and it's fun.

And then yes, I go over and generously apply the hand sanitizer.

HappyChyck said...

Maybe I would have been hip enough in my early years, but the longer I teach the more germs completely heeb me out! I'm so sorry that it's going to affect their tests scores. Their math teacher high-fives them each day, so at least the math scores will be up...

mybellringers said...

I think that all good teachers greet their students in some fashion and attempt to build relationships with them. Do those relationships matter? Yes. But to me, the idea that shaking hands etc. translates into learning, doesn't work for me. A bad teacher is a bad teacher regardless of whether they high-five or shake hands with their students. And some students (gasp) will never learn regardless of what bag of tricks a teacher brings to the classroom because they do not want to.IMHO.

Rebecca Bell, Ph.D. said...

I have seen the "receiving line" of high fives in schools. Used sparingly, it could be motivational, but mostly I just see the perfunctory weak slap if it's overused.

Gloves. I did not see that coming. But it would save on the antibacterial stuff I get in vat form at Costco...

mybellringers said...

Ah, Dr. Bell, how right you are! The gloves would have saved on the soap!

Melissa B. said...

We don't high five. We "pound." That's tres en vogue now; ever since the New Yorker cover with the Obamas.