Building Positive Personal Relationships
As a teacher, I want to make a lasting difference in the lives of my students. In order to have the privilege of really speaking into their lives, I need to build positive personal relationships. I may be teaching a classroom full of children, but I want to get to know each of them individually.
with Your Students
When I know each student personally, she/he:
- Is more willing to participate in activities.
- Shares thoughts and ideas more readily.
- Is more engaged in learning.
- Responds more positively to correction.
- Is more willing to listen to counsel.
Here are some simple ideas for building stronger personal relationships with your students:
- Call each student by name often—not just when you are correcting, but especially when you are encouraging and affirming. This shows each child she is individually important and special to you. Also, let your students hear you speak their names in prayer.
P.S. If you are like me and sometimes forget names or call the wrong ones (I even do this with my own kids!), apologize and call the child by the correct name at the earliest opportunity. I have also been known to call kids “sweetie” or “buddy” until my brain comes up with the correct name. :)
- Interact with students during other church services, not just during your class time. Wave to them in the parking lot. Go out of your way to greet them as they are with their families before or after church. Pray with them during prayer times. (A Sunday school teacher who prayed with
me nearly every time I went to the altar as a child impacted my life forever.) And when you are talking with a child, look him in the eye and pay attention; let him know he has your undivided attention.
- Take an interest in what is going on in your students’ lives. As you interact and converse, you will learn more about their interests, school activities, sports, hobbies, etc. (Jot notes after talking if you have trouble remembering who is involved in what.) Ask follow-up questions later about activities previously mentioned. Attend and support kids at special performances or competitions. Pray with them about concerns or problems they mention.
- Celebrate student birthdays. Birthdays are a big deal to kids! Acknowledging the their special day helps them realize how special they are to you. You could mail out birthday cards (kids love getting mail!), bring a cake once a month and celebrate all the birthdays for that month, or simply
sing "Happy Birthday!" to the birthday boy or girl during class.
- Write notes to your students. You can hand these to the kids personally or mail them. (Who doesn’t love getting a personal note in the mail?) You can send notes to reinforce positive behavior, acknowledge achievement, or just to let your students know you are thinking of them. You might want to actually make a schedule and work your way through your class list, making sure each student gets a note once a quarter.
- Interact with students’ parents. Praise your students to their parents. Let parents know you are praying for them and their children. Keep them informed of what you are learning and doing (hand out notes once a quarter). Give them ideas of ways to reinforce what their kids are learning.
Think About It
Which of the above ideas could I implement immediately to begin building stronger relationships with my students?
If you have any questions or comments about these ideas, feel free to contact me. I love hearing from you!