How to develop relationships with students
Every student is different, but the following strategies can foster strong teacher–student relationships in most classrooms.
1. Show your passion
As a teacher, showing enthusiasm and passion for your subject is essential. Not only will this help you engage with students, but it is also vital for fostering an atmosphere of learning and exploration. Enthusiasm motivates students to learn, while passion shows them how the lessons have relevance and purpose.
A few ways to show enthusiasm in the classroom are to:
- Offer creative activities
- Engage with students’ opinions
- Provide examples that are relevant to them
By meeting your students where they are and adapting your curriculum to reflect their interests, you can create an environment of motivation in the classroom. Seeing your students’ enthusiasm is one of the many benefits you can expect as a teacher.
2. Treat everyone with respect
It’s essential to treat each student with respect and recognize their individual needs. This means being patient, understanding and open to hearing different perspectives. Respectful teacher–student relationships are based on trust and communication — both involve actively listening to students as they share their thoughts and feelings while providing ample opportunity to voice concerns or feedback.
When students feel respected and heard, it can transform their relationship with school. It can dramatically improve their school experience, including reducing the number of suspensions and drop-out rates. They are also more likely to participate in class discussions, take risks exploring new concepts and be open to feedback. This can also lead to a stronger bond that benefits teachers and students alike.
To show respect and create a welcoming classroom :
- Take time to listen to what students have to say
- Balance teacher-centered lectures with group discussions
- Give each student undivided attention when needed
- Provide positive reinforcement and meaningful feedback
3. Highlight the good more than the bad
Rewarding good behavior and achievements is a great way to encourage learning and build strong relationships. It can also be a more effective way of reinforcing positive behaviors when compared to simply punishing the bad.
By drawing attention to what students are doing right and praising their successes, teachers can create an environment where students feel valued and supported, as well as motivated to continue striving for success. Students can then also recognize their progress and build a sense of accomplishment. A few ways to reward good behavior are:
- Verbally acknowledging accomplishments
- Offering incentives such as extra credit or a special activity
- Creating a bulletin board that celebrates student successes
- Notifying families about progress and achievements, not just potential problems
With support from inside and outside the classroom, students can feel empowered and motivated to reach their goals.