5 Ways Teachers Can Create Solid Relationships With Their Students
For students, establishing strong, trustful relationships with their teachers is fundamental to the learning process. Also, creating positive relationships within the classroom can provide students with higher self-esteem, a feeling of connection, and can create a welcoming “family-type,” of an environment.
As Dr. Rita Pierson stated in her famous TedTalk, “Every child deserves a champion; an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection and insists that they become the best they can possibly be.”
Building strong relationships can reduce class disruption, improve the level of student engagement, and make learning more fun.
Teachers often struggle with ideas on how to improve their relationships with students and reduce their level of anxiety and stress.
Here are five ways in which teachers can create a productive atmosphere, and build healthy relationships with students.
Provide an Engaging Structure
Students always respond to interactive and engaging classroom environments. It makes them feel safe and enhances their learning experience. Teachers can make the most of their lessons by providing students with a productive classroom atmosphere.
They can use different instructional methods and models to engage their students and build curiosity; this may lead to interest in new ideas and topics. When students enjoy learning, they pay more attention to each other, and look forward to attending school. Thus, an engaging classroom setting can help in developing a healthy and fruitful relationship between the teacher and his/her students.
Know Your Students
The number of students in the classroom often overwhelms teachers. However, it is critical to take the time to get to know each student and learn about their interests-especially ESL students who come from different backgrounds, levels of English, and cultures.
Teachers can students drive the conversations over the school year. They will quickly learn about their hobbies, backgrounds, interests, culture and learning styles.
When students know they have a safe place to be themselves, they feel comfortable and can build ongoing connections with their peers.
When teachers actively listen to their students’ interests, they pay closer attention because they feel assured that someone is listening to their voice.
Kids require a safe and sound environment to grow-whether it is at home or school. If teachers can provide some security during the school day, they can win their confidence, and students become genuinely interested in not only what one teaches–but also how that teacher made them feel.
Teach with Enthusiasm
Teach with passion and enthusiasm. Passion is infectious, and it can transmit across the classroom. If students see their teacher as someone who is going through the motions, they will feel the same as well. However, if students understand that their teacher is full of energy, and loves their topic, they may feel energetic and interested in the topics as well. Remember, students are paying attention to their teachers even when they’re not looking. How teachers behave in the classroom affects their behavior as well. Simple things like a gentle smile or a cheerful voice can instill more confidence in the school, and gear them toward enhanced learning.
Incorporate Humor in Class
It is always useful to incorporate a short anecdote of humor in the classroom. It will lighten the mood and take away the stress of spending long days at school. Humor has the power to engage people and is a very potent tool that teachers can make use of every day. A seemingly dull and dry lecture can suddenly become interesting if teachers spice it up with a joke or two. When students are laughing, they can pay more attention to the topic at hand. Students can also have a newfound respect for teachers who have a witty sense of humor, and share information through a lighter side of the learning process.
Don’t hear, Listen
The act of listening cannot be emphasized enough in a student-teacher relationship. Often, teachers are busy almost every single minute of the day.
Students at a young age are sensitive, and often have feelings that they cannot express. If teachers can lend them a listening ear, they may be surprised how miraculously they see a change in their students.
Any teacher who wants to build a good relationship with his/her students should attentively listen-and offer advice when possible.
And remember, being likable matters–create, connect and build out those relationships throughout the school year.
Here are some tips from educators at HAWO American Academy:
Jen G., says, “Students can sense a genuine interest vs. an artificial interest. I think that building a genuine rapport can happen when the teacher genuinely cares about the student’s interests, life beyond the classroom and educational needs. The caring teacher will remember these details and use them in future conversations and will incorporate the learning needs into teaching strategies.”
Alicia Reyes tells us, “No matter what, a student needs to feel safe whether it’s in a real or an online classroom. Engaging with a student is important, and helps build a foundation of trust. Once a student likes you, they often come back, and providing an environment a student seeks and needs is a part of creating a positive relationship. Younger students love songs, stuffed, animals, and joyful play. Older students enjoy discussing their interests, likes, and goals. Depending on the age range, its helpful to understand student development, and what can be provided mentally to help instill a good lesson.”
Fae Lois J Lumauag states, “Little kids have big ideas! I’ve found that when I look a child directly in the eyes at their level with an excited or surprised look on my face, they’re more open to showing me how excited they are because they know something. Or, how excited they are to show me that they can imitate me. It immediately brings trust, confidence, and value into a lesson.
One of my goals during lessons is to give each student confidence in his or her current abilities and the courage to continue growing and improving. Sharing in his or her excitement, hearing me giggle, or hearing me misspeak makes me seem less intimidating. It makes me look more human, just like them.
The learning process isn’t about being perfect. It’s about the skills and feelings we take away from learning.
Teachers can build positive relationships with students by reaching out without words, by sharing giggles, and by placing value in a student as he or she is. The rest will follow naturally and reinforce the relationship. Bonus: it will create a foundation for lifelong learning.”
Heather Ostipwko Penn says, “Being able to relate to a student and discuss past experiences will help create a bond with a student. Even if it’s the small stuff of sharing travel tips and experiences. I have a regular student who is visiting N.Y.C. this summer and I was able to help guide her choices of museums to visit since I have visited them in the past.”
Lisa Chounard tells us, “I always try to touch on a bit of personal information about each student. I even, on occasion, when I see a younger sibling popping in and out of the screen, invite them to listen! I’ve had several who actually stayed and by the end were reading along! It’s so touching for me!”