“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
Building Rapport Takes Time
As a teacher it is easy to get caught up in the curriculum, planning, and grading. We sometimes lose sight that a human connection could be the main reason that a student chooses to come to school each day. Try to make meaningful conversations with students. This is a mistake that I sometimes make and try to avoid if possible. I often have students come into my room for lunch or come and hang out in the morning before school starts. During these times of the day, I’m also working on paperwork, grading, and setting up the classroom for the day. Try and model active listening skills with your students. I have often been writing an email at the same time as I have been talking with a student and I find that I am not really paying attention to what they are telling me.
Many students enjoy coming to their teacher to talk about different things, while other students are harder to reach. Students will share exciting things from the weekend, tragedies that happened to their family, or problems they’re having with their friends. They trust you enough to come to you with the good things and troubles that they’re having. Take the time even though you won’t be able to finish your work right then to listen to them. They will appreciate it and see you as a trusting adult who cares for them. If you must get your email or lesson plan typed up, kindly ask the student to wait a minute or so until you finish what you are doing so you can give them your full attention. Below are ten other ways that we can build better rapport with our students, especially those that are hard to reach:
10 Ways to Build Positive Relationships with Students
In order to build a positive rapport with a student, you have to intentionally carve out time for the student. If you are busily running around the room and trying to talk with the student it, you will not be fully engaged and it will come off as insincere. Once you have the time carved out for your specific student(s), here are some ways to build rapport with your students
- Smile– Be genuinely happy to see your students each day. This could be the thing that brightens their day!
- Be Respectful- Give students time and space to problem solve issues if needed. Let them know you are there for them when they are ready to talk.
- Know their Hobbies and Interests- Take some time, even just in passing to talk about what your students like to do for fun. Share what you like too!
- Play a Game– Go out for recess or spend a few minutes playing games with students. They love having their teachers playing with them!
- Lunch with a Student- Invite a student or two in for lunch sometime. This provides a quiet time to get to know your students better.
- Greet Students at the Door- You can tell a lot by a student’s body language when they enter the room. Stand outside of the door and shake their hand in the morning or at each class period.
- Attend Student’s Activities– Get a sports or performance schedule from your students who are in extra-curricular activities. They love it when you come to an event!
- Look for the Positive in Your Students- Try to find one or two affirmations to say to your students each day. The ones who really struggle will need to be built up daily!
- Be Sincere- When you are talking with students, put down your computer, and be an active, sincere listener. Students will know when you are not being genuine.
- Believe in Your Students- Tell them, especially when things are hard, that you believe in them. Show them as well by being there for your students when they need extra support with an assignment or a listening ear for them during a tough time.
We all want to have great relationships with our students. Sometimes the busyness of our work and teaching can be a barrier to building rapport with our students. As I return to school this week, I will work harder at becoming more intentional with more of my students. Building up your students and taking time to be there for them will bring a lifetime of great results.