Friday, August 14, 2015

Three Incredible Ways to Strengthen Student-Teacher Relationships

One of the most important relationships in the life of a student is that of the student-teacher relationship. If you have strong relationships with your students, your year is much more likely to go smoothly. Rita Pierson, in her incredible TED Talk, discusses a fellow teacher who had a miserable year because, as she put it, wasn't "paid to like the students."

Here are three incredible ways to strengthen the relationships you have with your students. Following these three keys will help pave the way to a great year with your class.

  1. Have a 5 to 1 Ratio.
  2. What is a 5:1 Ratio? A 5:1 Ratio is the number of positive comments to negative comments that you give each of your students. You need to constantly be heaping praise on your students. Have you ever noticed that if someone gives you 1,000 positive comments and one negative comment, it is the negative comment that sticks with you? The same is true for your students. Be sure to tell your students how great they are doing, especially if they are prone to negative behavior. Remember the wonderful Mary Poppins? "A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down." Be certain you have a 5:1 Ratio.

  3. Use T.U.M.S.
  4. I am not referencing the heartburn medicine (although sometimes those are needed). T.U.M.S refers to the tone you set for your students in the morning and the connections you make with students as they come into the classroom in the morning.
    • Touch - greet your students with a handshake, high five, or knuckle bump.
    • Use His Name - make certain your student knows you know who he is. A name is a very powerful thing, especially when it is being used appropriately.
    • Make Eye Contact - look your student in the eye and convey a sense of excitement.
    • Smile - who doesn't love seeing a smile? A smile will instantly convey that everything is going to be alright.

  5. Be sure to say the Big Three.
  6. I call these sayings the "Big Three" because I think they are three of the most important things that a teacher can tell a student. I wrote a more in-depth blog post earlier this year.
    • "You're doing a great job!" - let your student know you appreciate the work he is doing.
    • "I'm proud of you!" - find something your student is doing and praise him for it, even if it something inconsequential or small.
    • "I love you." - students need to know that you love and care for them. It shouldn't be implied; they need to hear you say it and say it often.
I would love to guarantee that these three things would give you a smooth, drama-free year. They won't because we are dealing with children and children are people. However, I can promise that if you are consistently heaping praise, making connections, and showing that you care, your relationships will be that much better.

What do you do to help strengthen and build student-teacher relationship? Leave a comment below!

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