Research shows that strong student-teacher relationships significantly improve student achievement and educator effectiveness.
As a student of Residency@TCSJ, one of Teacher College of San Joaquin's Preliminary Teaching Credential Programs, I have had the opportunity to work alongside a veteran, talented, credentialed teacher since the beginning of the school year. This has allowed me to witness strategies that she started using day one to gain her students' trust and build relationships with them.
Here are six **educator approved** tips that I have learned so far to help you build strong relationships with your students. (They are not in any particular order. There is no one way to implement these strategies.)
Believe in your students! Know that everyone is capable of learning. How we think and feel about a student is very clear to them. The narrative that we have about them is abundantly clear- whether we talk about it out loud or not. If students think you don't believe in them they are not in an environment that supports learning.
Get to know your students. Teaching is not just about academics. For students to build trust with their teachers they need to feel seen and validated. Strike up conversations that are unique to them individually. Find out their interests, hopes, fears, and goals. We need to show these students that THEY matter, not just their grade.
Provide your students with choices. This is an easy way for teachers to support students and the various ways that they learn. Teachers do need to assess for specific knowledge content- but we should be as flexible as possible when allowing students to show us their understanding of that content. This helps make students feel empowered, give them some control, and may help with anxiety/fears.
Accept & support students for who they are. This is such a crucial factor in building strong relationships. Feeling accepted and supported are key components to building healthy relationships. Make sure your students know they have you in their corner.
Embrace mistakes in your classroom. A healthy learning environment begins when everyone knows they are free to make mistakes and learn from them. Students will be able to reach their full potential in your classroom if they know you will support them in their mistake making process. The more mistakes that are made- the more growth is gained.
Honor students and their culturally diverse background. Our students come from all different backgrounds: culturally, religiously, economically, the list goes on. This means that each of these factors have shaped our students into who they are today. We cannot successfully teach our students if we do not honor their backgrounds first.
I am so grateful for the opportunity to be in a classroom for the remainder of the school year so I can see how my master teacher cultivates the relationships she has formed with her students. Once I have my teaching credential, I am excited to use these relationship-building practices with my own students.