A Tale of 2 Teachers
Usually working at his desk when students arrive
Main focus is getting through required content
Most conversations with students are about academics
Greets students at the door and says goodbye each day
Has conversations with students about their interests
Includes games, music, class cheers, and check-in meetings in her lessons
Make a prediction....
Which teacher's students are most likely more successful at school?
If you said Ms. Kim, you're correct!
Building strong relationships with students can help them develop academically and socially — and as a teacher, learning how to create meaningful connections with your students is essential for a successful classroom environment.
Why are strong connections so important?
Effects of strong connections for students:
physical & mental well-being
Showing students you care is the basis of all meaningful relationships.
There isn't a formula or one-size-fits-all recipe. Try out the 4 strategies below and see which ones feel most authentic for your teaching style.
Think about Ms. Kim, from the introduction of this Byte. Which of the comments would her students most likely have made on an evaluation? Click all that apply.
1. Provide a warm welcome
Greet students at the door by name each day — and pronounce their names correctly!
Offer a variety of greetings for students with different comfort levels (high-five, fist bump, handshake, thumbs up, wave, sign language "hello")
Ask how they're doing
Comment on something you talked about yesterday
Ask about their hobbies or personal events
Think about Mr. Motta, from the introduction. If you were writing his performance review, which comments would you include? Select all that apply.
2. Create safe communication methods
Communicate with individual students using private journals that only you and each student sees
Set up a check-in station where students can let you know how they're feeling
Example: Students in this classroom write their student number on the back of a sticky note and place it in the row that represents how they're feeling that day.
Image courtesy of Erin Castillo
Include regular class meetings in your schedule.
Class meetings are a part of the day "designed to enhance students' social and emotional development, while increasing teacher and peer connectedness."
Use check-in meetings as a safe space to cover classroom topics such as bullying, conflict resolution, and goal setting. Encourage your students to express feelings and share opinions.
3. Show interest in your students' lives
Get to know what your students are listening to and watching
Give them chances to teach you new dances or popular terms
Relate class content to what students are interested in
Make an effort to go to school-sponsored events that your students are involved in like sports or concert
Listen to students' personal stories
Learn some phrases in their native language
Have lunch with small groups of students occasionally if they're comfortable with you joining them
4. Know your limits
Students know when you aren't being genuine!
Choosing strategies that don't fit with your personality or trying too hard will come across as fake and have the opposite effect. Be authentic!
Not all students are created equally.
Keep in mind that some people are generally more private or introverted. Being aware and respectful of a student's boundaries is an excellent way to form connections.
Maintain appropriate boundaries.
Creating connections can be a tricky balance between what's appropriate and what's not. While you want to get to know your students, be sure to respect their privacy.
The goal is to form strong relationships WITHIN a class structure that's well-organized and managed.
Are you ready to build better relationships with your students to make your classroom a more positive place?