The Importance of Building Positive Relationships with Students
For teachers, returning to work after summer can be a little stressful, yet an exciting opportunity to start a fresh year and take on new challenges. For young children, however, shifting from the safety of home or nursery into the structure and bustle of the classroom can be daunting and confusing.
As an educator, you have the power to help pupils integrate into the school environment quickly and easily. However, this doesn’t mean that the task is a swift and simple one for you personally, as a study by Janine Hostettler Scharer states that “during the child’s transition the needs, fears and expectations of all three parties [child, parent and teacher] come together”.
So what’s the best way for teachers to encourage and support children during this transitional period? Below are some tips that can be incorporated into your daily routine to maximum effect.
Be visible but not too attached
Children are at their most comfortable when they know the adults looking after them and what their names are. This obviously refers to the teacher, but also any teaching assistants and other staff who are based in the classroom or visit regularly. During activities, it’s important that you can each be quickly found but don’t spend too much time with a single student or group, otherwise attachment issues can arise.
Manage your open-door policy
This can be tricky, as an open-door policy plays an important role in achieving accessibility, yet can sometimes prove disruptive. If you’re working on a particularly difficult topic or spending one-to-one time with a student, make sure to pop a ‘do not disturb’ sign on the door and remove it as soon as you’re available.
Be in regular contact with parents
It’s natural for parents to want to talk about their children’s progress and well-being, although this does need to be managed properly. Aside from parents’ evenings, it’s helpful to stay in regular contact with parents to discuss a student’s learning progress, behaviour or any other issues a teacher can discuss with a parent.
Be emotionally intelligent
Taking students out of their comfort zones and introducing them to new things is a key part of teaching, as it motivates them to adapt, learn and grow. However, you need to be mindful of each pupil’s individual needs and limitations, as expecting the same result from every member of the class will only lead to some feeling isolated, silly and incapable.
Be aware of your surroundings
Whilst creating a space where children have the confidence to discuss topics and chat during activities, you must also be wary of any initial signs of bullying or alienation. This kind of behaviour often starts with very small acts, such as a group ignoring one of its members, and certain words that may at first sound like playful fun actually being hurtful to the recipient. By creating a bubble of awareness through listening to background noise and regularly glancing around, you can keep the environment safe, welcoming and collaborative.
Over to you
Share your stories of a teacher or teachers that helped you in school and made a positive influence in your education and life. Make sure to tag us and use #MyTeacher when you do!