January 29, 2020 Celebrations

Irving Elementary teachers greet students with hugs and high-fives

Students at Irving Dual Language Elementary Receive Morning Greeting
Students at Irving Dual Language Elementary Receive Morning Greeting

Many of us can sometimes start our mornings off on the wrong foot. But, how would you like to start your school day with a high-five, a dab, or maybe even a hug?

Well, some students at Irving Dual Language Elementary School in Sioux City are doing just that as teachers focus on social and emotional learning.

“It’s important to have the students feel welcomed,” said Irving Kindergarten Teacher Yesenia Macias. “This is their workplace for them. So at a workplace, who would want to come work when you’re not being welcomed or you don’t feel comfortable in an environment.”

For more than a year, students and teachers at Irving Dual Language Elementary School have been starting their day off on a positive note, with this special morning greeting.

“I like hugs because they make me happy,” said kindergartner Marilyn Oviedo.

While it may seem like a simple thing, getting a high five or a fist bump, doing a dance, or getting a hug, Macias said it tells her a lot about how her students are feeling.

“You definitely can tell a lot about how they come in and what they choose,” Macias said. “If they normally choose the hug, and today they just come in, give you a high-five looking down, you know there is something wrong.”

Macias also said it’s allowed students to express their emotions a lot more effectively both with her and other students.

“It allows me to know how much I can push them, how much support they need from me, and if they need some extra attention I know that I can give that to them specifically,” said Macias.

But hopefully, Macias said it doesn’t just stop here.

“I hope that they’re able to take it throughout their whole life,” said Macias. “Not just have it stop in elementary. That they spread their kindness throughout their whole entire life.”

Macias said several other classrooms have also made the morning greetings a part of their daily routine.

She said she’s excited that other teachers are taking students’ emotions into account.

View the full coverage by Michaela Feldmann on KTIV.