What Does A Real Relationship Consist Of – In this blog, an attempt to gather knowledge, Ferlazzo will address questions from readers about classroom management, ELL instruction, lesson planning, and other issues teachers face. Send your questions to [email protected] Read more in this blog.
This series began with responses from Adeyemi Stembridge, Candace Hines, Jacki Glasper, Mary Beth Nicklaus, Valentine Gonzalez, and Julie Jee. You can listen to a 10 minute conversation I had with Adeyemi, Candace, Jacki and Mary Beth on my BAM! Radio show. You can find a list of past shows and links to them here.
What Does A Real Relationship Consist Of
Today’s guests are Timothy Hilton, Valerie Ruckes, David Bosso, Jenny Edwards, Pamela Broussard, Kara Pranikoff, Patty McGee and Jonathan Eckert.
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Timothy Hilton currently teaches Social Studies at a high school in South Central Los Angeles and has taught in the area for the past 9 years. Timothy has experience teaching all levels of Social Studies, from Advanced Placement to English Language Development. In addition to teaching in downtown Los Angeles, Timothy is currently a doctoral student at Claremont Graduate University, where he studies education policy, evaluation, and reform:
Building relationships with students is by far the most important thing a teacher can do. Without a solid foundation and relationships built on trust and respect, there will be no quality learning. While I believe the importance of relationships cannot be overstated, many teachers have no idea where to start. This is especially true when you are trying to build relationships with students who come from a different background than you.
While building relationships with students can seem like a daunting task, I try to keep it simple and follow three guiding principles:
1) Check your biases. First and foremost, we must remember that we all come from different places. We cannot presume to know the experiences of our students by location, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status. When talking with students about their experiences, it’s best to remember that your experience is unique to you and not the “norm.”
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2) Talk to your students (about topics not related to the course): In conjunction with controlling your biases, it is important to talk to your students. Talk to your students about their interests, sports, current events, funny (but relevant) stories from your personal life or anything else you want. These conversations help the student connect with you outside of the teaching role and on a more personal level. The teacher-student dynamic is a very difficult relationship. It is important to build your relationships outside of this dynamic.
3) Never hold a grudge: I know sometimes it’s hard not to hold a grudge when a student misbehaves. Sometimes we want to be rude to them to ‘teach them a lesson’. This is extremely counterproductive. The fact is, college students have bad days. We must remember that our students live outside of our classroom and we often have no idea what their experiences are there. If there is to be a relationship of trust and respect, every day must be a new day. Every day should be a new beginning.
As mentioned before, the goal is to build relationships based on trust and respect. In my experience, I have found that these three guiding principles have enabled me to cultivate this type of relationship with almost all of my students.
Year of teaching and currently teaches first grade in Rochester Community Schools in Rochester, Michigan. Val is involved as a mentor for her district’s New Teacher Induction Program (NTIP) and serves as a member of her building’s instructional leadership team. On Sunday evenings you can find Val on Twitter (@valruckes) co-moderating #1stchat and connecting with other first grade teachers:
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Building relationships with students fosters a positive learning environment, helps build our classroom community, and is arguably one of the best investments we can make with our students.
Darling! When we want to understand, we show students that we care. Trying to understand our students is not a simple process because each child is a unique individual. When we take the time to ask questions and listen, we have a good chance of understanding our students even better. This sounds very simple, but now it is always as easy as it sounds. We have all experienced situations where students are upset, emotional or even defiant. When I try to understand a student who is in one of these emotional states, my first question is, “Are you okay?” It’s amazing how much a child will open up to us when we show them we care.
Conversations. By getting to know our students as individuals, we can learn about their hobbies, interests and passions. On the other hand, students also know us better. Books are wonderful vehicles for creating conversations about various situations and experiences. Books offer us moments to laugh together, bond and discuss important lessons together. Additionally, using what I know about student interests helps me choose books for guided reading groups and other learning activities. When I work with a struggling reader, choosing a book that matches his or her interests is often the best way to engage the student during the lesson.
Here are some books I share with my first graders that encourage the kind of conversations that help us learn and grow together as a community of learners.
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Every Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson – Lessons include the importance of showing kindness and regretting missed opportunities.
Ish by Peter Reynolds – This book helps students let go of making things “perfect” and embraces individual creativity.
The Recess Queen by Alexis O’Neill – Focuses on fighting bullying and treating others with kindness and respect.
Connections. Connect first, learn later! Our most challenging students will allow us to teach them if we connect with them first. Once I invest time to connect with students, I can teach them more effectively because they trust me. Connecting with students includes an opportunity for our students to experience our humanity. My first graders love when I laugh with them, dance with them during brain breaks and sing songs together during shared readings. They also love it when I share weekend news during our morning meetings. My students love hearing about what I do for fun and how I spend time with my family. Learning more about me helps them relate to me and discover that sometimes we share similar interests.
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You may think that you already know most of your students well. What about some students you know very little about? Here’s how you can find out. Make a list of 10 things you know about each of the students in your class. You might be surprised to discover that there are one or two students you know very little about. These are probably students you have yet to connect with. The 3 C’s – Caring, Conversations and Connections will help you build and foster meaningful relationships with your students.
David Bosso, a social studies teacher at Berlin High School, is the 2012 Connecticut Teacher of the Year and the 2012 National High School Social Studies Teacher of the Year. During his teaching career, Bosso traveled to Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Europe as part of teaching delegations for global understanding. Bosso holds master’s degrees from the University of Hartford and Central Connecticut State University and a doctorate in pedagogy from the American International College:
In a studio years ago, one of my students had a rough day and felt sick. Realizing the need to find a way to feel better about things, I asked her if she wanted to learn how to juggle. She looked at me in disbelief, then agreed. For the next twenty minutes I showed her the movements and patterns involved as she struggled to acquire this skill. I begged her, corrected her and praised her. After many attempts she juggled! In the weeks and months that followed I occasionally asked how her juggling was going, but I didn’t think much of it. Later that year, she gave a speech to her peers at an assembly and mentioned the day. She talked about how I took the time to teach her how to juggle and how it was less about the learning and more about the value of the experience in helping her through the hard times.
Sometimes the simplest gestures can have the most powerful impact. Standing at the classroom door, greeting students as they enter and checking on them sends a subtle but important message: “you are cared for, you are safe, you are supported, you are respected, and you have a voice here. ” It is a sad reality for many students that sometimes the teacher is the only adult during the day who takes the time to talk to them.
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Despite the changing dynamics of the school day and
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