You may be asking yourself why is it important to build relationships with students? Remember, when you build relationships with students they will respect you and work hard to meet your expectations. Take time to invest in your students! Strategies to build relationships with students do not have to time up lots of time but does take time. However, please do not think of this as wasted time or time you do not have.
Build relationships with students with Morning Meeting. This time is one of the best activities to build relationships with students! Morning Meeting provides students the opportunity to grow in many areas as individuals. This can be done by teaching to process emotions, learn character traits, etc. I highly encourage you to start implementing Morning Meeting into your daily or weekly routines.
Having an effective Student Check-in form is so important! You can easily post or push out this link using Google Classroom or whatever platform you are using. This is a Google Forms resource so you will view student's individual responses.
Have you ever had a friend or coworker check on you? No strings attached, just wanted to check on you to see how things were going and to let you know they care. How did that make you feel? Do this for your students. Check on your kids without something beginning wrong or after they have made a bad decision. Checking on them without there being an issue or problem will validate yourself to students and show them you care.
Have you taken the time to really get to know your students? Not their achievement levels or level of struggle with math, do you know personal details about your students? I’m talking about do they love legos, or Pokemon, or unicorns? If not, start here! Start asking questions and beginning to connect with each of your students by finding common likes or dislikes. This is how you begin to build relationships with students.
Small talk with students is one of my favorite strategies to build relationships with students. Do students know you? For example, my students know I enjoy coffee each morning. They know this by observation and our discussions. Now, we do not have 5 or 10-minute conversations about my love for coffee. However, during homeroom, I have made a comment or two like, “My coffee is really good today. This has helped me have a great morning”. This is a just quick example of how I talk with my students about myself to start building relationships with students.
I am a math teacher. I love teaching math which is completely shocking to my close family. Math was my least favorite subject in school because I really had to work at it. It is my humble opinion about why I am a good math teacher. I have personal experiences as to how it feels when the math doesn’t make sense and how the struggle feels. I share different stories with my students through my struggle. By explaining to students, “Hey I know this is difficult, that’s why I’m here, explain to me exactly what you do not understand.” Actually take time to understand their feelings and lean into that.
I know this way of how to build relationships with students may sound silly, but who doesn’t love a good joke? This step helps your students see your personality and that you know how to have fun. Promote fun in your classroom! Fun that doesn’t invite classroom chaos. If you are looking for a list of kid-friendly jokes, click here.
Music makes people happy, even kids. Digital streaming and the most wonderful tool by amazon, Alexa, you can easily play music in your classroom. However, if you do not have Alexa in your classroom it is a total gamer changer. After report cards are dispersed at my school, our class and I change up our music playlist. This is one of my favorite ways to build relationships with students because this is something they always remember. I do have expectations for our music. If a student doesn’t respect the song choice or poor behavior choices start occurring we may have to go a day or two without music.
Have you ever shared with someone a story and referenced it laster they forgot? Of course, it happens because we are all human. However, when the timing is right, reference stories or name drop one of your students. While teaching and providing examples for students, use their name or a sister or brother’s name. They will giggle every time!
Students of all ages love read aloud. If you notice students are off task, tired, or need a brain break, take advantage of a fun read-aloud. Choose the book yourself, or allow a student to make the selection.
BE SURE to includes books promoting diversity. Everyone should feel welcome and comfortable in your classroom. Making students feel important, loved, and welcome is so important! This is one of the most important activities.
How many fun Fri-yahs have you incorporated into your classroom this year? How can do actively engage students while continuing to teach? During small group or center time, engage with them. While students are working for the whole group, be intentional with your engagement. Bend down by a student and ask, “how is your day going”, or say “I am so glad you are in my classroom this year”. Trust me, teacher friend, it makes a difference.
If you are looking for a fun, engaging, GREAT team building activity, Save Fred Activity is just that.
Save Fred Activity is one your students are sure to love. Save Fred is challenging and engaging.
Do you know students know you are human, that you are not perfect and make mistakes? If not, tell your students. I usually have this discussion with my class during our growth mindset discussion. Go through each poster and talk in-depth about each. Relate the posters to personal experiences. If you are looking for or in need of growth mindset posters, click here!
How often do you ask or remind students to be good listeners or encourage them to listen with their ears? Guess what? We have done the same for our students. I can remember when a student didn’t complete a lesson correctly and I was frustrated. After talking with the student and listening, the student and I were able to quickly fix the problem. After proving myself to the student and keeping my word of always being here to help, that student began to trust me. Later on into the school year, the student opened up to me and his home life. His story broke my heart.
Take a class survey at the beginning of the school year. Hang onto the results and use the student’s likes and interests during the school year. Find themed activities and characters for your reading or math lessons. Football is a big hit in my small town, so I always have football-themed task cards and math games for students to participate in. I try to carry the themes of the season as well.
Teacher Tip: Check out the Dollar Spot at Target for small erasers. Target offers so many choices and themes available.
You have the chance in one school year to make your students fall in love with the school. Be the biggest and loudest cheerleader for your students. Be there during successful times and times when they have to work harder and need more support. Always tell your students, “You can do hard things!” Growth mindset posters are excellent options to help inspire your students.
Growth Mindset Posters are uplifting and encouraging for students. Give your students the gift of uplifting, positive thoughts each day. 15 posters available in this resource.
Teacher friend, you are not always correct and your students do not mind telling you that! Don't forget you're human. You are going to become stressed, overwhelmed, overworked, and your to-do list is going to be longer than the time you have available. You are going to make mistakes and the need for an apology will come. When that time comes, apologize proudly, boldly, and publicly to your class. Allow your students the chance to see you are indeed human, you make mistakes, and you are the type person who isn’t afraid to apologize.
My hope is after you implement the strategies to build relationships with students, you see a big change in your students.