Keys to Building Relationships for Teachers

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Keys to Building Relationships for Teachers

By Timoshanae Wellmaker

Teachers! I know it is July and many of us feel as if it id way too soon to be talking about next school year. It feels too soon for your mind, your body and your time to be taken up by school stuff when you want to think about brunches, sleep, friends, vacays and maybe even more sleep. While that is perfectly acceptable and even expected after all the hard work you put in this past school year, let me remind you that it is never too early to begin thinking about next year. After all, this article isn’t about getting up and doing anything just yet anyway. So sit back and finish your glass of whatever as you continue reading. 

I’ve taught for three consecutive years now, worked with kids practically all of my life. If I had to make a checklist of the top things people entering a classroom (teachers most importantly) needed to know in order to be successful and effective then the very first thing on that list would be relationships. I cannot stress how important building and fostering relationships as a teacher is. In short: You absolutely cannot be successful without having a relationship with the people you get in front of everyday. You can have the best curriculum in the world and it wouldn’t mean much if you didn’t put effort into building relationships with the students you plan to teach it to. Let’s get into a few important key things to remember when talking classroom relationship building.

First things first, devote time in the beginning of the year strictly to relationship building. This is such a crucial time to show your students that you care about who they are as people and want to get to know them. This can look different for teachers depending on age level, subject area, classroom culture and the school climate. Incorporating small group time and activities that allow students to freely be themselves is a good kickstart. 

Another thing to keep in mind is that while you have to be intentional with relationship building, you cannot force them. If your method of trying to build a relationship with a student is not working then you need to take a step back and try again with new methods. 

Every student is unique, there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to building a relationship with anyone, let alone people still in the developing ages of their lives. As you learn your students, really learn and relearn them as they figure themselves out. 

Before stepping into your classroom take the time to actively recognize any biases or preconceived feelings/thoughts you may have picked up or have been told about students. Students are different for everyone. You will ruin a perfect opportunity because you’re ready to address the Jerome that Ms. Hudson had last year. Drop it now. 

Remember that is all starts with you. First, you need to show students that you are willing to allow them to get to know you before they can begin trusting you to get to know them. And leave the excuses at the door because no student is too difficult for you to build a relationship with. It is you that needs to simply take a step back and go about it a different way. All students need love. 

When you step into this next year, just remember that before you do anything else you need to build relationships with your students. Don’t teach them as a stranger, they deserve more than that.