I have recently learned that one of my female students is a “hugger”. As a third grade teacher, hugs are not all that uncommon. By the time students get to third grade however, many students abandon this practice with their teachers. I know many teachers are concerned about reciprocating these hugs – I have been known to keep my arms stiffly at my sides and kind of lean away while a student is giving me a quick hug, and that makes me sad about the times we are currently living in. This particular student however, began the school year needing a lot of emotional support. She was often sullen, depressed, coming into school crying, rarely a smile was seen. Some days were better than others, but she was often so sad it really worried me.
Over the last few weeks though, she has been the happiest, smiliest (is that a word?!) girl in the class!! I cannot begin to explain how happy this makes ME! I honestly don’t know what flipped her switch! Throughout the day, she has made it her habit to come to me and give me a hug. Now, I’m not talking about the one-armed, lean in type of hug, I mean the knock you over, full-on, two arms all the way around me hug!! As surprised as I was the first time she did this, I have come to look forward to these hugs. Not “feeling it” on a Monday? Big hug!! Frustrating math lesson where students looked at you as if you were speaking Latin? Big hug!! Returning from specials? Big hug!! I’m sure there is some study on this, but I sure can attest that receiving hugs makes my day a whole lot better!
So — having a bad day? Go hug someone! It just might make you feel better! And I bet the “hugee” will, too! Not a hugger? Stop by my classroom for a few minutes… I’m sure you will see me get a great big bear hug from my little cutie, and that just might make you smile!!! 😉