- Not every educator comes into the classroom knowing how to create and sustain solid and ongoing relationships with their students — but they can learn, according to an article in Edutopia.
- To start, educators can work on strengthening their own listening skills by building “empathic listening,” which relies on spending more time paying attention to what a student is saying rather than on trying to problem-solve immediately. Making time to talk with students, even a few minutes a day, can help to strengthen a connection as well.
- In addition, by showing themselves to be vulnerable, educators may bond more with classes. So too can intentionally setting aside brief moments outside the classroom to think about each student throughout the week. By considering everything from where a child is struggling to what that student has achieved, teachers can build more of a link to each student.
Through the process of connecting more closely each student, children will feel their teachers understand them on a personal level, not just as a name in a roll book. In turn, students may gain confidence in themselves and achieve more academically.
One way to forge this connection is to integrate social-emotional learning tools into the school day. SEL can be woven throughout the K-12 curriculum to help students develop skills from a growth mindset to tools for building resilience and persistence. Integrating an SEL program into classrooms can bring about positive results not just for students, but also for teachers, helping educators handle their own stressors from the school day, too.
Another option is to connect with students over details that aren’t related to academics. For instance, they could bond over shared out-of-school activities — or educators could take an interest in what their classes are passionate about. Teachers can also build trust by ensuring they call on all students equally, and by also making sure they give each child the time to respond to a question, which demonstrates their confidence in a student's ability.
When students feel a more personal bond to those teaching them, they are more likely to be present in their learning, and also feel their teacher is on their side. As teachers build stronger relationships with their classes, they can nurture trust between themselves and their pupils, and potentially boost not only their academic achievement but their well-being, too.