|Photo from Life Magazine|
I am not as cautious as I should be. I admit - I do touch my students. However, most of the time, I do not initiate the contact. Students run up to me and hug me in the hall. If I sit on the carpet, students want to sit next to me or sit on my lap. While walking in line, students want to hold my hand. I don't encourage it but I don't discourage it when it happens, and if the hug lasts for more than a second or two, I try to redirect the student. I think this is due in part to my own upbringing and cultural norms. I'm comfortable with physical contact. I'm friendly and I express it by shaking hands or patting arms. I must keep in mind that not everyone is at ease with touching. Patting a head or rubbing a shoulder may be seen as very disrespectful or too intimate. It seems, though, that some children need that physical connection with someone.
This reminds me of a conversation I had with another friend who is doing her PhD on smell. We need our senses. For the safety of students, we have no-touch policies at some schools. To help people with sensitivities, we have scent-free environments. Respecting these needs are important but we do lose a little something when we deny or deprive our other senses when we learn. Maybe this is why students love "hands-on" learning - if we can't touch people, we can touch things. Making things with our own hands satisfies a basic need we have. Look at this article that my friend Lisa Noble sent to me about the benefits of holiday baking. I won't hug each and every one of my children's teachers to thank them for treating my son and daughter well, but I can thank them by creating cookies. (In addition to the Orange Ice Box and Lemon Lime Twists I made before, I tried four new recipes. I forgot to take a photo of the Cinnamon cookies, but the others are below.)
|White Chocolate and Butterscotch Cookies|
|Cherry and Lemon Cookies|
|Mini Raspberry Pinwheels|