Six Ways for a Teacher to Connect with Students:
Why would it be essential for students to have a comfortable, working, rapport with their teachers? Initially it may be difficult for the teacher to consider the importance of teaching through relationships, because many teachers may come from a generation where these relationships between student and teacher were virtually nonexistent and completely professional; drawing a clear line between the teacher and the student. It is important for teachers to understand why it is important to create a comfort level in the classroom where students can safely thrive through being themselves and accepted what ever their style of learning.
Have a sense of humor:
When teachers smile and laugh with students, there is an instant form of connection. Humor in the classroom can help students feel more comfortable and open for learning. It can also be a great way to shift emotional gears when a student may have had an unfortunate event prior to walking into the classroom. Anytime there is a positive emotional connection like humor, the content the teacher is conveying is much more memorable and more inclined to stick!
Connecting to students my help students to connect with each other:
There may be times a teacher has a difficult time in the classroom because students may not be connecting with one another or even more simply, they may not be kind to one another. The lack of kindness and empathy between students can be a huge distraction in the classroom. Teachers may not think of themselves as a facilitator of relationships; however, when there is a social vibe in the classroom there can be a sense of family where acceptance, community, and a comfort level which can open students to more effective learning.
Be aware of a student’s discomfort:
It is important to scan students for behavior which may indicate they are uncomfortable. Students who are uncomfortable will not be open to learn and may be fixated on their discomfort. Examples to look for in students are tiredness, hunger, or restlessness. Recognizing and talking to each student about their discomfort simply shows them you care. The remedies for these minor difficulties can be simple from a quick drink of water, running a short errand for the teacher, a small snack, stretching, or allowing the student to stand.
Talk about what is going on in YOUR life!
Students like to hear about how the teacher’s weekend was, what they like to do, and stories they may have from when you were their age. This opens a window of opportunity to become familiar with the teacher as a person and someone they can more easily relate to. Students may have a desire to connect with the teacher’s hobbies, and family even if they don’t have the opportunity to experience it first hand. Students, especially young ones, often picture their teacher living at school! When they imagine their teacher in more traditional settings it makes teachers more approachable and easier for the students to relate to.
Teacher’s, don’t be perfect:
Teachers are always thinking of how to improve the student’s performance and what skills they may be lacking in. Additionally, other students, in many cases, are aware of strengths and fragilities of their fellow classmates. Students, however, find it very interesting and appealing when they know teachers may have their own struggles and similar problems. When teachers are able to communicate comfortably skills and traits they are improving, it models a behavior for the student to be comfortable with any areas of needed improvment they may have. Sharing imperfections may help students to be comfortable with their flaws more openly.
Illustrate to students how much they are valued:
Tell students as a group and individually you believe in them. They need to hear they will make a difference someday, and their life has a purpose along with they will be successful. Ask the students how they are, what they need, and what their opinion is. Tell them you value what they have to say and their opinion matters. Find out what their plans are. They will feel appreciated and want to excel even more.
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