More important was what the kids did when she came in.
At first, they did nothing. On only our seventh day of school, when a "strange" adult entered, my Hoggatteers kept on working in their teams, using clues to slightly change one word to another, to another, etc. For those who don't understand the significance of this, I'll tell you: we don't want our students to stop what they are doing when school officials or visitors come in. It doesn't take much to make a visit into an interruption.
That said, I am not altogether against certain kinds of interruptions, and that, too, occurred with Doshier's visit. As I was talking to her, a student boldly walked up to her and shook her hand. Again, that may not mean much to the average reader, but considering this was a young lady who is very shy speaks volumes about the courage it took for her to approach Mrs. Doshier.
My students understand that I want them to be respectful. We have talked about how to do this by firmly shaking hands, with eye contact. We've also spoken about posture and how to initiate conversation. So...when everyone saw what one girl was doing, they all wanted in on the action. Imagine a wave of fourth graders coming at you all at once, and you'll get a pretty good picture of what Mrs. Doshier was faced with. They all wanted to shake her hand. She wondered aloud if this was something our class had been working on.
At which time, I had to fill some sandbags to deter the flood. I very well might have saved the life of our executive director of elementary education.
Teachable moment! I needed to clarify my expectations. "If the adult approaches your table," I said, "you may then address the adult with a handshake." Of course, by this time, they had primed her curiosity; now she had to visit the tables.
Team One was the first table, and Team One impressed. When Doshier walked toward them, four poised young ladies stood and greeted her with handshakes.
"Please take my seat," said another.
And the remaining two explained our project and why we were doing it.
My heart stopped. This was a challenging academic task for most, but to add the social-professional aspect is obviously a lot to ask of nine- and ten-year-olds. Still, in that moment, I was very proud of the class. To have resigned themselves to put together such a repertoire of skills is really something to note.
I was so pleased that I had to brag to Principal Hennessey when she visited shortly after.