Building positive relationships with students is not only key for establishing a positive classroom environment, it’s also vital for boosting both student and teacher wellbeing. Being able to establish effective classroom routines, to have a sense of humour and to support students beyond the classroom has enabled my students and I to work as a team and thrive through this tumultuous year.
Below, I share five personal top tips that I have learnt about establishing positive relationships with students from my experiences as a secondary MFL teacher so far:
1. Invest time in showing an interest
Everyone has something that lights them up: make time to find what makes your students shine. Which passions do you have in your classroom? A dedicated Leeds United fan? An animal lover? A champion swimmer?
By investing time and energy in discovering your students' passions, you will be showing that you care beyond their academic achievements and that you support their personal development as a young person. Equally, getting creative and including some of your students’ passions in your lesson plans can increase engagement and student learning. Never underestimate the power of listening and encouragement!
Why not use our FREE ‘getting to know your students’ resource to find out more about your students' interests?
2. Establish routine
Without consistency and routine, students miss out on valuable learning time and have reduced respect for the teacher, as authority is undermined and the classroom environment is not conducive to effective learning. By establishing clear routines and expectations from the very start, this creates a safe and positive classroom climate which builds students’ respect for both the teacher and themselves!
3. Be enthusiastic, positive and passionate
To do this, it’s so important to separate your personal life from your work life. While it can be difficult, it’s important to reach out to your support network and focus on the positives, so you can be the best you can be every day. Check out our blog on building healthy habits to see how you can keep yourself shining even during the dullest moments.
4. Respect your students
It’s important to be self-aware about how much respect you are showing your students, as students who are feeling disrespected will not respect you!
Embarrassing or singling out particular students will only contribute towards a negative classroom culture and lead to further problems. Keeping a firm but fair approach and dealing with any problems in a professional manner with all students will show that you respect each student as an individual. This in turn will create a positive classroom environment where students find you more approachable.
5. Get involved!
Along with listening and showing an interest in what your students are passionate about, get involved with extracurricular activities that are supporting your students’ personal development. Ofsted's new section for assessment on Personal Development shows how it is ever-increasingly important that we consider a student's whole development beyond the classroom!
For example, I volunteered to take part in the Duke of Edinburgh walks with Year 9 and the Year 6 transition walks. This was an amazing opportunity to see students in a different environment. I was able to support students in building resilience and confidence, while creating some brilliant memories beyond the classroom for years to come!
Overall, I would say go the extra mile to build positive relationships with your students; it’s the most rewarding part of being a teacher!
Jess Asher is a secondary MFL teacher and a second-year participant on the Teach First programme.
Are you looking for more ideas to build relationships with your students? Our FREE teacher resources and icebreaker games are a quick and easy way for you to learn more about your students.