So I normally start a class session by saying "hello" and asking how everybody is doing. Seems civilized. Plus most of my professors started all their classes pretty much that same way, and if it worked for them all these years I don't see any need to go reinventing the wheel.
Tonight I get out my notes and my dry erase marker and take up my station at the podium and say "Hello!" and get a round of grunts, which isn't surprising because this is week 13/16 and everybody is f*ing exhausted.
I ignore the grunts, bounce on my toes a little to demonstrate some of that pep I don't have, and breeze right into: "How is everybody?!" with the driven enthusiasm of an academic who is determined to enjoy paragraph drafting exercises if it kills her (it might).
And one of my international students, a bright guy with an extensive vocabulary but an uneven sense of conversational usage, shakes his head and announces decisively: "We are not fine."