Why We Need to Watch Our Students Walk Into Our Classrooms

I don’t know about you, but as kids walk through the doorway I can usually get an indication of how the day ahead might look.

Every single kid walks into a classroom with the events, stories, and experiences from the night or weekend before.

Every single kid comes into their classrooms and tells us these stories through some simple messages that get lost if we’re busy doing other things.

Like rushing off to make those last-minute photocopies, checking the website that you want to use works, grabbing a coffee or finding that activity you had in your hands a second ago.

nervous But, I had the reciprocal reading activity here a second ago

I know there are a million things going on in the morning, but I also know that if wasn’t for the kids in our classrooms, we wouldn’t actually be there. We’re there for them.

That means they are our first and foremost priority…which is a polite way of me saying that perhaps you really should get to work 10 minutes earlier to enjoy your coffee and photocopy that sheet.


Because if you invest those 10 minutes in looking at and speaking to your students, you will discover so many amazing stories that will shape how you teach throughout the day.

If you really want to get your teaching nerdism on – and let’s be honest, you and I both do – that time when kids are walking and waiting around for the bell to go is the best formative assessment you can get.


A crowd full of droopy shoulders? What was on the night before? You’ll definitely need to use some stories to hook them in during sessions today (creative license is allowed expected).

Mr Confident strolls in, gives you brief eye contact before quickly looking away? Make time to chat or casually shoot hoops at the beginning of lunch with him.

Miss I-Don’t-Usually-Say-A-Word-In-Front-Of-Others is hanging around you for more than 30 seconds? Time to find some space, ask her for some help and see what she has to say.

Ol’ Loudy McLoud who loves making noise comes in like a mouse? Something serious is going on. Keep an eye on that and find time to touch base as soon as possible. (Even if it is a look or smile to say you know something seems off).

There’s a story behind every kid’s entrance

Every single year I am astounded at how much of an impact it makes, not only on the kids but also on the teachers. The insights they get and the speed at which they can create such positive and trusting cultures really is amazing.

All because of 10 minutes at the start of each day.

It doesn’t seem like much, and yes some days you will be tired, over it and ready to crawl into the corner.


Suck it up for that 10 minutes (please).

It’ll seriously change the rest of your day and help you genuinely connect with your students. Plus, on the teaching side, it will put you ahead of any classroom management issues that otherwise may have unsuspectingly snuck up on you.

Relationships matter. If we don’t spend time getting to know our kids, we may as well be teaching the overpriced interactive whiteboard on the wall.

What are you going to find out in 10 minutes tomorrow?

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