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Building Relationships with Students
Have you ever reflected on a favorite teacher you had while in school? What were some qualities that made them memorable? Most likely they were creative, fun, engaging, and caring. There may be other attributes that made them memorable for you, but for now, I want to focus on the caring aspect.
I can remember that teacher. The one who made me feel special and successful. Even in my failures, he never embarrassed me in front of my peers or made me feel like I couldn't recover from my failure. He was encouraging. I can remember gentle hugs, shoulder taps, one-on-one conference time, lunch chats, and after school tutoring. The qualities he possessed are ones I took with me as an educator. As a result, once I built relationships with my students, over time, classroom management was no longer a major issue and I could focus on instruction.
What do I mean by classroom management was no longer an issue? I don't have the golden ticket to help solve all the world's classroom management issues, but I can say for sure that when I give advice to novice teachers, I always start with that nugget. The internet is loaded with research on building relationships with students resulting in a positive impact on classroom performance. We have all seen the viral video of the teacher who greeted his students at the door with their own special handshake. One handshake at the start of school made each student feel special. And who doesn't like to feel special? Especially with someone they spend most of their day with for 180 days.
Here are some easy ideas for building relationships:
Sometimes, as an educator, you are lucky enough to build lasting relationships that keep your students coming back to visit you. And sometimes you build such a deep relationship that the student actually becomes a part of your family. Our students aren't just students, they are our children.
If you have any stories, ideas, pictures, or tips feel free to share them in the comment section.
Stephanie Stephens and Holly Fitzharris are both Montessori educators- collectively with over 30 years of experience in education.