In a survey conducted across 414,000 different students, less than half of them expressed that they thought their teachers cared about them.
That’s a sign that building relationships with students should be at the forefront of learning how to teach. When a lesson comes from someone you know cares about you, you’re much more likely to listen.
As a teacher, that’s why it’s so important to show your students that you care about them. If you don’t know where to begin, here are the 8 top tips for how to build better relationships with your students!
1. Be Observant
The first tip is to be observant. This means taking the time to watch your students and the way that they behave.
One way this shows up most frequently is in tardiness.
Most teachers notice when their students are late, but do you ever wonder why? And what behaviors do they show when they come to class late or miss a day entirely?
Noticing the way your students are acting makes a world of a difference because it opens up a door for you to see where they are coming from. You can get cued into whether or not a student is going through something when you observe them carefully.
2. Speak Up
The next tip is to speak up, or, to teach with enthusiasm. This is an important tip because it encourages your students in two key ways.
When you teach with enthusiasm, you show your student that the topic is exciting and important to learn about. At the same time, your student will also notice that you are working hard to make the lesson enjoyable for them, and a teacher that puts in that kind of effort cares about their students!
3. Be Proud
Being proud of your students is a huge way to strengthen your relationship with your students. That doesn’t mean you should constantly praise them of course, that might come off as ingenuine and cheesy.
But affirming your students in their comments and thoughts can go a long way, especially in giving them feedback on their assignments. Find the positive things that they’ve done and show them what they’ve done well before giving your criticism.
If your students make things for you, displaying them in the classroom is also a great way to show your students you are proud of them and that you appreciate their work.
4. Meet Up
Another element of building relationships with students is done through meetings. Meeting with your students nowadays via computer, which you can learn about here: https://setapp.com/how-to/group-facetime-calls-on-mac
Group meetings are key so that you can build a space that is comfortable for students to share within, but you should also be making time to meet one-on-one with your students. Meeting with students individually whether it’s during class, free period, or over Facetime allows for you to really hear what your student has to say and where they might be struggling in your class.
5. Give Space
Leaving the floor to your students for class discussion, debates, or just for them to ask you any questions that they might have is a powerful way of showing students that you care.
When you give your students space to speak, especially in front of their peers, it shows them that you trust them to have helpful and fruitful conversations without your help. It builds their confidence in their own skills as well as their trust in you that you see them as responsible and intelligent.
Try having a seminar-based class one day, or letting them work together in groups for a class period once a week.
6. Share Laughs
Another tip to strengthening student and teacher relationship is to make them laugh once in a while. Now, this does not mean you have to be a stand-up comedian.
What it does mean is that you should encourage laughter in the classroom. Whether it’s coming from your class clown or some funny video you watched the night before, don’t hesitate to share the laughter as long as it’s appropriate.
This shows your students that you are a person who laughs and enjoys life just as much as the next guy!
7. Be Yourself
Along the lines of showing your students that you’re a person, one tip that will improve your relationships a lot is to just be yourself.
You probably give students this advice a lot, so it’s time you started listening to your own advice! Be open to sharing with your students about your life as much as you’re comfortable with, and be honest with them when you mess up.
This shows your students that you are aware of your mistakes and that you can own up to them, which could inspire them to do likewise. It also builds that foundation of trust between you and them, because they’ll feel like they’re really seeing you.
8. Show Up
Finally, the last tip to building relationships with students is to show up for them. This is on a deeper level of being on their side for things like parent-teacher conferences, but also in settings outside of the classroom.
If you have student-athletes, musicians, thespians, or writers, support them by being there for them. Attend their next football game, concert, play, or open mic and really watch and/or listen to them when you’re there.
This is one of the biggest ways you can show your support for your students and for them to see how much you really care about them and the things that they care about.
Building Relationships With Students Made Easy
When you apply any and all of these tips to your classroom, you’re sure to see student engagement increase. It will take some time, so don’t get discouraged if you’re not seeing change.
Instead, take a deep breath and continue to work on building relationships with students through these eight tactics. You’ll be better for it at the end of the day, and you’ll have some great relationships with some students that might even end up lasting a lifetime.
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