A strong teacher-student relationship is characterized by a positive, friendly and respectful interaction between teacher and student.
The Power of Strong Teacher-Student Relationships
Teachers set the tone of their classrooms, mentor and nurture students, and listen and look for signs of trouble. They are aware of their students’ physical needs and make sure that the classroom is an environment where students feel free to be themselves. The teacher-student relationship is at its best when students can see that what they are learning is meaningful and that they feel valued by the class community.
Developing a positive and healthy teacher-student relationship in the classroom and across the school is a key factor contributing towards student academic success and happiness. Positive teacher-student relationships help students to succeed despite potential risk factors in their lives. Classrooms where teachers and students have strong relationships often have fewer disruptive behavior. When students feel cared for, they are more likely to attend school and do well academically. Students are also more willing to ask for help as their level of trust in the teacher increases. Students should leave the classroom thinking that they are special.
Routines To Help Build Strong Relationships
- Learn and use students’ names as quickly as you can at the beginning of the year.
- Greet students in the halls by saying their names or give them a handshake or greeting. Let them know they are important.
- Let students know when you are available each day for questions or just to talk. Build time in the day for connections.
Classroom Ideas and Activities
- Before the beginning of the school year, send notes home letting the students know a little about you and that you are looking forward to having them in your classroom.
- Share personal stories about your interests and funny happenings. Also, share when you have made a mistake and that you are not perfect.
- Stay up-to-date with pop culture as much as possible. It can be a great way to connect with students.
- Send positive postcards home throughout the year. Pre-address a set of postcards (your school registrar might be able to print address labels for you). Each week, pick a few postcards and send home a positive note.
Classroom Environment And Set Up
- Create an “all about me board” in your room. Students love to know about your interests and your family. Change it up from time to time so you are continually sharing with your students things about your life. Have students create a “me board” too.
- Post students’ pictures and names in the classroom. Students need to see themselves in your room, so they know that they belong.
- When you have a new student join your class, have a welcome sign with the student’s name greeting him or her at the door.
Keep In Mind…
The teacher is responsible for establishing positive relationships with each student and assumes the responsibility for continuing to strengthen these relationships over time. Don’t quit on building relationships. It may take the entire year to see that your efforts are working.
And remember that students bring a lot of emotions and attitudes from home. Try to not take things personally. As long as expectations for classroom behaviors are generally being met, and no one is being offended, allow for students to vent occasionally. This could help students to feel better and could even build positive bonds between you and the students.
You’re human and will have bad days or a rough class period here and there. Therefore, it is ok to be authentic with students and tell them that you are having “one of those days.” You can use these times to model to your students how you reset and deal with adversity.