Building relationships with students

I don't want to see us all try the experiment with the nails and cinderblocks, but I would love for us all to get the real messages here: 1) One size does not fit all and 2) Teachers need to take the time to understand what is going on with their students (develop relationships). When we do, we come to understand why they are not asking questions in class, or why they are acting out (begging for someone's attention), or why the homework did not get done last night.

Yesterday, I called a student to see me. I asked him if he would participate in a survey. He agreed, took the envelope, but was not ready to leave my office. Without any prompting at all, this young man proceeded to tell me so much about himself. He wanted me to know that he was studying hard, making sure his mom continues to be proud of him. He talked about losing his stepfather a few months ago, and how much this has hurt. He misses watching Sunday afternoon sports on TV with his dad. He misses the good advice and example of manhood seen in his dad. He spoke about always wanting to do the right thing for his mother; helping around the house and looking out for his 3 younger siblings. He said that some of his grades fell last semester because his goal was to help mom more. Now, because his grades fell, he has lost a lot of privileges such as TV in his room, gaming and friends over for visits. He spoke of trying to strike a balance---get good grades and still help mom with the house and the other children. This student, we'll call him Jason, wants to attend college, though not yet sure what he'll study. He simply said, "I want to do great things with my life. I know I have to be something great!"

How much time did this take? About 10 minutes, but I would have listened to him so much longer if he had just had the time!

If I were his teacher I would, as a result of this opportunity, be better prepared to have conversations with Jason. I would know more about what motivates him and why he wants to learn. I would begin to think differently with regard to teaching him, because now, teaching Jason would be more focused and caring, more student centered.

Dr. Chesley

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2 years ago
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I feel as if this is paramount to keeping your student engaged. Statistically, students are more willing to stay in school and be active if they felt educator cared about them, they are more willing to be apart of the school community if the educator demonstrated genuine emotions about their well-fair. My classroom environment is built on the “Positive
teacher-student” dichotomy. I believe building this type of relationship contributes to students’ whole person and attributes to pro-social
behavior in the classroom. http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/apr06/vol63/num07/Promoting-Adolescents'-Prosocial-Behavior.aspx

2 years ago
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2 years ago
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After reading about a practice where teachers talk to a difficult student for 2 min a day for 10 days i tried it with a student. We never talked about anything deep, but my relationship with the student did change.

2 years ago
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Wow @alanschubert, how awesome! I have not heard of this policy before but I will definitely try this in the future.

2 years ago
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It is vital that teachers get to know tsir students. You can't teach them until you reach them

2 years ago
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Just as important in the video the teacher knew his students but the he also let the students know about his life and family.

2 years ago
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2 years ago
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Knowing the learner is integral to building proper relationships. Of course, knowing them beyond their End of Grade testing score, but knowing what they care about. It's easier to be academically tough on your students if they know you care. I agree Conaway that students should get a peak at your home life. They are more willing to open up to you.

2 years ago
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...wow! ...you all are awesome! Your students are lucky to have you as their teachers!

2 years ago
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I agree that we need to correct certain culturally sensitive behavior and not shy away from it. There is a way to do so without giving a lecture or shoos-sing it out of your room. This is a form of culturally responsive teaching because it requires each student recognizes other cultures and are respectful and mindful of their language and reactions.