Educators around the world are using the four FISH! Practices of Be There, Choose Your Attitude, Make Their Day, and Play to create a safe, respectful culture and effective learning environments.
As a teacher, you probably know how hard it is to build great classroom relationships. Interacting with students is never easy – especially if you’re working with kids from diverse backgrounds with unique needs and circumstances.
But there are some simple ways that you can build better classroom relationships – no matter where you teach! Take a look at these 4 simple methods now, and become a more effective educator!
1. BE THERE – Get To Know Each One
Be There is rarely easy especially when you have a packed classroom with 20-30 students. So many things at school conspire to steal our attention away from the present. We can get so wrapped up and distracted that we forget the unconscious messages we send when we are not being there.
This year make a conscious effort to really get to know each one of your students as an individual. This will take some time, of course – depending on how many students and your workload but the benefit will be worth it in the end.
Talk to each one of your students when you can. Get to know what they’re into. Do they like sports? Animals? What are their favorite movies? Don’t be afraid to take notes!
Getting to know your students as individuals helps them see you not just as another adult – but as a person who is genuinely interested in them, and who has their best interests at heart.
Kids are just people – so treat them like people! Be interested in them, and build up a friendship with each of your students. You’ll be rewarded with a more positive relationships – both inside and outside of the classroom.
The act of Being There shows people that you respect and honour them. It is the first step in building relationships.
2. Value Your Students – And Let Them Have A Say
Obviously, you can’t run your classroom as a democracy. You have the final say in what you do (or don’t do) and you create your own lesson plan.
But this doesn’t mean you can’t give your students options. For example, you could create a lesson plan that includes both a classroom game and a video program for a given day – and let your students vote on what they’d rather do!
If you can give your students some kind of influence on what goes on in class, they’ll feel more in-control of their own education, and they’re more likely to be engaged. Allow them to collectively create a list of accepted classroom behaviours and come up with some fun ways for the class to hold each other accountable to these behaviours throughout the year.
In addition, if a student has an idea that can help you improve your teaching, or has other suggestions about how you’re running your class, you should listen to them. Maybe have a Innovative Idea board where best idea of the month is awarded or recognised publically. You’d be surprised at how great some of these ideas can be!
3. Make Their Day – Provide Positive Feedback
As an educator, you’re going to have to discipline students, and provide constructive feedback when kids are misbehaving, or if they perform poorly in class. But this does not have to be the only time you give feedback to your students.
When your class is behaving well and learning, for example, take the time to recognise it! Catch them doing things RIGHT! Tell your students that you’re proud of how they’ve done, and that you’re glad they’re engaged, and learning. Providing positive feedback helps your students feel more special and appreciated, so do so whenever you can. Maybe create a classroom reward program based on your established classroom behaviours. So very FISHY!
4. Choose Your Attitude
Attitudes can be contagious, start off the day by choosing to have an attitude that people want to catch. In the hustle and bustle of your daily routine, there will be times when you have to deal with situations or circumstances that may be out of your control, however you can always choose the way you will deal with them.
Now, this is not to say that you will walk around with a constant smile on your face by faking it. It is more about taking responsibility for your responses to what life throws in front of you. Remember you are the ultimate role model and example to so many young and impressionable minds. Be the best example you can be. Make this year where you create the culture you want in your classroom.
Inspire Better Classroom Relationships With These Handy Tips!
Becoming a better teacher and educator is a life-long process, and there are no shortcuts. Apply these few helpful tips from day one and aim for improved relationships with your students and colleagues, and become more open and approachable as a teacher.
For more about how to connect with your students, we recommend the FISH! For Schools Experience. In this team-building series, you can learn valuable techniques about how to connect with both your peers and students and foster a more positive educational culture.