"We try," I replied, when a voice came from the other side of the room from the other photographer (We always have two photographers due to the size of our school.).
"I was his photographer, last year!" she said, crossing to our side of the room. "I remember all of the handshakes from his students, last year."
We do not often consider the lasting impact of a respectful, firm handshake. I know our school, our district, our state, and our nation have set academic expectations for fourth graders, but I also understand the value of good manners - that little "thank you" that accompanies a handshake, the proclamation of sorrow that accompanies a sincere apology, the "excuse me" following an offensive act. Not only will our school, our district, our state, and our nation be richer and better for it, but our own lives are greatly enhanced when we are employable and enjoyable. When people - including elementary students - are mature and kind, we must acknowledge the benefits.
I am proud of my class for something as simple as a "thank you" and a handshake. The simple things make a huge difference. Let's enter the second quarter with the continued goals that our "family" will become more and more unified, and that we will treat others the way we would like them to treat us.