Positive Greetings at the Door

You know that stress of trying to settle your class down after a transition (especially after recess or lunch!)? Well, imagine how less chaotic it would be if your students would magically enter class each period ready to:

  • transition quickly!
  • be settled and prepared!
  • refrain from inappropriate behaviors that detract from learning!

Are you ready to say goodbye to days where all you seem to be doing is reminding students over and over again of what behaviors they should be doing as they come into the classroom? It that sounds like you, then this PCM strategy just might be helpful!

The general climate (positive OR negative) of a classroom has an impact on how well teachers begin their class and how students behave throughout the period.

Research (and experience) tells us that students are more engaged and better behaved in classrooms in which there is an upbeat climate and where students feel they have a positive relationship with their teacher. One easy and effective way to accomplish this is to greet students at the door in a way that is positive, intentional, and strategic.

The Positive Greeting at the Door procedure is an easy and effective method to get your classes off to a good start by minimizing problem behavior and improving students’ readiness to learn.


  • Positive verbal or non-verbal interactions with students as they walk into the room 
  • Use smiles, physical touch (as appropriate) and use the student’s name in the greeting 
  • Pre-correct individual student or all students 
  • Reference successes that occurred the prior day 
  • Remind students of a task to start on as class begins
  • Show enthusiasm that they are there to be taught!

Implementation Steps

This PCM entails a bit more than just standing at an open doorway as your students enter the room (although that’s the first step). Read on for ways to see how to employ this strategy for the best results.

Step 1: Stand at the door

Standing near the door allows you to monitor behavior as students enter. Remember though, you are not a hall monitor – as tempting as it is to scold your captive audience for something that’s a ‘pet peeve’ of yours.

Your focus right now is on greeting students positively, preferably by name.

STEP 2: Positively interact with students as they enter the room

  • Interactions can be verbal 
    • Praising for walking in quietly
    • “Hi (name), how’s it going?” 
    • “How was that soccer game on Saturday, (name)?”
    • “I’m glad you’re here today, (name)”
  • Or non-verbal
    • Fist bump
    • High five
    • Smile
    • Thumbs up

Often, you won’t need to address the inappropriate behavior of a particular student, but instead, you can praise or recognize another student who is engaging appropriately and that will send the message just fine 

STEP 3: Provide pre-corrective statements to individuals or class

  • Catch them being good – especially a student who had a bad day yesterday
  • Look for opportunities to encourage positively moving forward – it’s IMPORTANT not to ‘rehash’ old infractions, but tell students today is a new day to show they can be respectful, responsible, etc.
  • Although it’s tempting to address incorrect behaviors, it’s important to name what you’d LIKE to see instead. When the good stuff happens, call it out!

STEP 4: Remind students to look at the class schedule and engage in learning as soon as possible

  • Example: “Thank you for coming in quietly. Take a look at our agenda to see what to expect during class today. After you ______(bell work or other transitional task), we will start at 12:45, so please be in your seat with your supplies, ready to begin.”
  • Of course, you should set the example by being ready to begin, yourself. 

The Research

Although it’s tempting to address incorrect behaviors, it’s important to name what you’d LIKE to see instead. When the good stuff happens, call it out!

Need some inspiration? Watch this!

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