Building Relationships…Building the Foundation of a Successful School Year
By: Kimberly Monachino
It is hard to believe that another school year is fast approaching. Before we know it, the yellow school buses will be en route and the “20 mile per hour” school zone signs will be flashing. The marquees outside many schools will read “Welcome Back Students!” or “Good luck students and staff for a successful 2018-2019 school year!”
Even after 30 years in education, I still get butterflies in my stomach the night before the first day of school. There is a renewed excitement about starting a new school year. Teachers, parents and, most importantly, students wonder what the new year will bring.
As we start to get back in the swing of school and learning, remember, one of the most important tasks a teacher must start with, and continue all year, is building relationships with students. Building relationships is the keystone for a successful year. If a teacher has a good relationship with her students, the students are more willing to please the teacher, which can lead to less discipline and more learning. Relationship building is not something you can do the first day or the first week and then forget about. It is something that, for some students, may take all year. For some, those connections may be on the first hello, for others, it will be on the last goodbye.
Here are some tips teachers can use to build relationships with their students:
Kim Monachino is director of the Office for Exceptional Children for the Ohio Department of Education. You can learn more about Kim by clicking here.
- Greet your students every day. Let them know they are important enough for you to stop and say hello.
- Have a “family meeting” several times a week with your class. Take some time for your students to share what is going on in their lives.
- Write positive notes or make positive calls home. This allows the child to see you notice and care.
- Stop and have a personal conversation with your students. It will give you insight to what is going on in their lives. This also is a good technique for working with your more difficult students.
- Try to make connections with your students by including things that are important to them in your classroom or teaching. For example, if a student likes baseball, you can use that as an example in a math problem.
- Speak to the students with respect. All relationships, including student-teacher relationships, flourish on mutual respect.
- Attend extracurricular activities. By attending an activity outside of school, it shows the students you are interested in them as people and not just “students.”
- Share stories about yourself. Let the students see you as a person. This will allow them to make connections to you just like you make connections with them.
- Let students have a voice in the classroom. Let them know this is not “my room” but “our room.” Try to stay away from the pronouns my or mine and go with we and ours.
- Trust your students! What better way is there to build relationships than to build trust? Also, students must trust you. Trust is the foundation of any good relationship.