Building Rapport with Students

Building Rapport with Students is the key to your success.

If you have difficulty building rapport with students, your relief teaching day is going to be tough.

Building Rapport With Students

It doesn't matter how much you are prepared. We all have a rough idea of what a building rapport with students means.

I am sure it was part of your teacher training somewhere along the line. I bet respect was thrown in there somewhere. Possibly also the need to love teaching, creating futures – all the platitudes.

But the reality quickly sets in. Building rapport with students is not all beer and skittles.

What is the foundation of a building rapport with Students?

Make no mistake about it, "Work Is Work".

If I had the choice of spending the day fishing on my boat or in my classroom, I would choose fishing every time.

The reality is one pays the bills and the other doesn’t. But there is no other job I would rather be doing than teaching in schools. As far as jobs go.

But I don’t feel the calling of a higher power when I enter the classroom. I love my own children, but I don’t have the same feeling towards the children of other parents. Some I enjoy teaching and some, well, I thank the lucky stars they don’t come home with me.

I don’t want to promote the romanticised version of a positive student teacher rapport.

Let me put it out there. The one thing I am really passionate about is that I can teach, and the students want to learn.

That is my definition of a Building Rapport with Students

Building Rapport with Students is not about being liked?

I don’t have to like the students, which is just as well because some students are just obnoxious.

They don’t have to like me either, which is also just as well because I'm sure many of them don't.

But it is essential that they trust I am going to value-add to their days; even their lives. If they like me in the process well and good. If they don’t, it’s their loss because I am a personable old fellow.

Building Rapport with Students

Tips to building rapport with students.

  • Keep yourself current with the learning needs of your students if you know them. If you are new to the class as most relief teachers are, make it your goal to get to understand the learning needs as quickly and as publicly as you can. 

Student learning needs must be priority number 1 in all student teacher relationship matters. You want quality learning to drive all your operations. If you know the learning needs of your class, they will trust that you are there to make a difference.

If Betty struggles with punctuation, make sure you scaffold her skills in this area. When walking past her, acknowledge growth in this skill or remediate accordingly.

If Betty struggles with punctuation, make sure you scaffold her skills in this area. When walking past her, acknowledge growth in this skill or remediate accordingly.

Keep a record in your diary of these interactions so the next time you conference, you can talk to her about her learning goals.

Practice What You Preach

  • Practice what you preach. Kids are far more astute these days. It is incomprehensible to scream at someone for screaming?
Crisis Management

Kids are far more astute these days. It is incomprehensible to scream at someone for screaming? How can you blast someone for talking loudly? There seems to be little sense abusing a student for being abusive. Students never fall for the old line, “Do as I say, not what I do.”

Respect is a two-way street and giving students the respect you would expect them to give you sends a powerful message that you respect others. Accepting student responses, answers or questions without judgement goes a long way to demonstrate respect. Some responses may be well off-centre.

You need to accept their response as legitimate even if the class giggles. Never (EVER) ridicule students for the sake of a laugh. Keep your eyes firmly on the student and respond appropriately. This strategy will send a powerful message to others in your class.

  • Work with students in small groups.

... but don’t take over. If you are like me (a bit of a “take-over merchant”) bite your lip in small group work.

I love small group work. If done correctly, it can provide the basis for connecting learning. As a teacher, I have always enjoyed being a participant in the learning circle. Sit and listen.

In all relationships, listeners are highly valued. If you feel a burning desire to provide feedback, have the group acknowledge your right to participate. Ask before you butt in. Follow the group participation rules you established before the activity.

  • Balance the private and professional nature of your role.

Keep your relief teaching role on the professional level at all times.

Teachers often find themselves placed between a rock and a hard place. Students may offer opinions gained from home that differ remarkably from social norms. I have learned from experience that if there is a conflict between home and school, students will reject school.

Blaming parents for incomplete homework is fraught with peril. Any criticism of parents by teachers causes a degree of student angst. You may well find your student teacher relationship irreparably damaged should you criticize a family member.

If you ever have the need to report an issue, do it. You are legal obliged to keep students safe but should not take this responsibility yourself. Be wary of becoming involved in the private circumstances of the family without checking with other professional first.

  • Take an active role in your playground and supervision duties.

This is a perfect opportunity to show your relief teacher colours outside of the classroom. Kids like it when relief teachers participate in their out of classroom activities.

Where possible, take an interest in school sport, the music program or the chess club. Be involved in the full life of a school. Show the very same initiative you expect from your students.

Would you like more ideas on How to Manage Student Behaviour?





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