In my last blog post, I talked about how I never really had a teacher who was interested in my life or took the effort to get to know me. I also talked about my Educational Guru being Rita Pierson and a big reason why she is my Guru is because she is a huge believer in building relationships with students. She emphasized on how taking the time to get to know them will build their trust with you and their willingness to learn.
In this post, I want to dive into building positive relationships with students. I will touch on the “Why’s, How’s, and What’s” when it comes to being able to create relationships with your students.
Why Is It Important To Build Relationships With Students?
Students spend 180 days of a year in school and in each of those days there are about six hours. This means that students spend about 1,080 hours a school year with their teacher. Imagine spending that amount of time with a person but never really getting to know them that well. It would make those hours feel long and not worth putting any effort into anything. But, when you spend such a large amount of time with someone, you want to have a positive relationship with them and one that will become important to you.
Strong student-teacher relationships help improve students in academic engagements, grades, attendance, behavior issues, and the number of school dropouts. As educators, we strive to fulfill these things in our classroom because we want the best for our students and we want to see them succeed. By building relationships with students, it will give them the encouragement they need to be successful in anything they put their mind to.
When students are given a positive praise or encouragement, their brain releases dopamine which makes students feel good and it motivates them to do well. Once students are motivated, they will want to continue to focus on a certain topic or skill so they can continue to receive positive praise. Once the praise is given again to students, the cycle starts over by releasing dopamine which helps with motivation. This cycle can be a never ending cycle if we create positive interactions with students and positive relationships.
How Do You Build Relationships With Students?
Positive interactions with students creates positive relationships. Trynia Kaufman is the author of Building Positive Relationships With Students: What Brain Science Says and she states, “…researchers recommend having five positive interactions for every one negative interaction” (2020). It can be discouraging for students if they constantly hear everything that they do wrong but never anything they do right.
“In the classroom, positive relationships are the foundation for learning success.” – Cicely Woodard of edutopia
When students are treated with respect and build a relationship with them, they tend to like you. Once they start to like you and appreciate your efforts to get to know them, they will learn to listen to you and treat you with respect. They will want to please you in everything they do.
Students do not always have a safe person to go to and talk to about things going on in their life. By showing that you are interested in a student’s life, they may open up to you about what is happening to them. You may begin to notice something’s wrong with a student if they all of a sudden start acting out in class and their behaviors get in the way of class time. This is a great opportunity for you to talk with the student and provide a safe place for them to talk. Once that student sees you care about them, they will hopefully start to listen to you and want to respect you.
“…it is important to remember that when it comes to students behavior, it’s far more often the relationship students have with you than it is the rules themselves that encourages students to follow those rules.”
– Mark Boynton and Christine Boynton
What Do We Do To Build Relationships With Students?
Below I am going to talk about just a few of the many ways you can build your relationships with your students.
Learn Your Student’s Names: Being one student who is part of a larger body of students the makes up one whole school can make a student feel invisible. By learning your student’s names as quick as possible can make them feel important.
Attend Activities Outside Of School: Every time a student sees their teacher outside of school, their face immediately lights up with joy and excitement. They appreciate you taking the time to come and see what they do outside of the classroom. It sends a message to students and parents that you care about them.
Integrate Your Student’s Voices: After learning a lot about inquiry based learning, we see the benefits of student led classrooms. Students have a voice and when you open the floor up to their ideas you not only show them you are interested in their thoughts but you learn so much about them and their thought process.
Listen To Your Students: Sometimes, it is easy to build a wall between you and your students because you want to keep a professional relationship with them. It is important to break through those walls to better understand our students and help them not only academically but on an individual level as well. You can still have an appropriate relationship with students while also building a better understanding of them.
Yes, building positive relationships with your students is not an easy task. You may get students who are closed off and don’t want to share anything with you. This can be discouraging, but it is important to remember that some students don’t have anyone asking them how their day was or what they did over the weekend. YOU can be the one to make a difference in your student’s life.
Check it out!!
Want to learn more about how to build positive relationships with your students? Below is a list of resources for you to check out!
- Understood.org – Building Positive Relationships With Students: What Brain Science Says by Trynia Kaufman
- Scholastic.com – 10 Ways to Build Relationships With Students This Year by Genia Connell
- edweek.org – Why Teacher-Student Relationships Matter by Sarah D. Sparks
- edutopia.org – 6 Strategies for Building Better Student Relationships by Cicely Woodward
- ascd.org – Educator’s Guide to Preventing and Solving Discipline Problems by Mark Boynton and Christine Boynton
Boynton, M., & Boynton, C. (n.d.). Chapter 1. Developing Positive Teacher-Student Relations. Retrieved November 05, 2020, from http://www.ascd.org/publications/books/105124/chapters/Developing_Positive_Teacher-Student_Relations.aspx
Kaufman, T. (2020, October 22). Building Positive Relationships With Students: What Brain Science Says. Retrieved November 05, 2020, from https://www.understood.org/en/school-learning/for-educators/empathy/brain- science-says-4-reasons-to-build-positive-relationships-with-students
Woodard, C. (2019, August 07). 6 Strategies for Building Better Student Relationships. Retrieved November 05, 2020, from https://www.edutopia.org/article/6-strategies-building-better-student-relationships