Dear Teachers, Please Stop Shaking My Hand


Ryan Woods shakes the hand of a student as they walk in. Seconds after this photo was taken, he approached me for a handshake and I subsequently dropped my phone.

Along with the grand opening of our new school faculty has decided to change the atmosphere in which we learn. Teachers and administration want to give us a warm welcome every morning by greeting each and every one of us with a smile and, much to the student’s dismay, a handshake.

Since the first day of school teachers and faculty have insisted on shaking hands with every student they see. Principal Ryan Woods greets us in front of the school every morning. Of course, they do it as a way to connect with students on a more personal level, but many see it as a way to start a school-wide epidemic.

Not even after a full week of school had I started to feel a cold coming on. And I was not the only one. Of course, there are plenty of other factors that play into me getting sick, but while I am sick I will have to shake hands with some of my teachers and faculty that, after shaking my hand, will shake the hands of countless other students in the school, potentially giving my disease to every other student they come in contact with them.

People are already getting sick, one of my teachers told us they were not feeling well so instead of giving us high fives they insisted on tapping elbows with us. My biggest issue with this is that before their symptoms were obvious, they were still sick. Days before you could physically tell they were ill they had shaken our hands with their cold-virus infested hands, potentially contaminating every one of their students. I do not hate this teacher, I actually really like them as a person and a teacher, but I have a problem with the policy that has been put in place.

 Marianne Aldrich ’19 also disagrees with the hand shaking. Aldrich missed about one and a half weeks of school, shortly after the beginning of the school year, and believes the additional hand shakes are a cause. At a doctors appointment, when Aldrich informed her doctor about the handshakes, he laughed.

“He found the idea that they thought it was a good idea amusing,” Aldrich said. “I don’t think [the handshakes] are a smart idea, because of the health concerns.”

Not all teachers are joning this fad, Jessica Dowell, social studies teacher, does not shake her students hand. Not for a particular germ reason, but for a more social reason. Dowell explains that she is an introvert and certain social situations, including hand shakes, cause a lot of stress.

“I said to my [students] ‘it’s not you it’s me’,” Jessica Dowell, social studies teacher said. “I will greet you, I will welcome you, but I don’t want to shake your hand.”

The school had good intentions when they started encouraging the handshakes, but I see it going south very soon. Flu season is just around the corner and it is just a matter of time before students start feeling the effects. So as my final cry, teachers, please stop shaking my hand.