Five Easy Ways to Build Authentic and Genuine Relationships
Behavior management is a key part of maintaining a successful school year for teachers. It’s often considered the backbone of the classroom, while relationships are the heart. The easiest way to help support effective behavior management is through building authentic relationships..
Here are some ideas you can use to build relationships with children and families in your program.
Schedule home visits and phone calls. A home visit starts the groundwork for building positive relationships with families. You can learn a lot about a child's home life in a short 15-minute visit. Positive phone calls are also effective ways to support relationships. Make sure the focus of the ongoing phone calls is to share something encouraging about the child.
Connect with children. Be authentic and genuine through actions like smiling, making eye contact, and having social conversations with students. Allow time for children to talk to you and vice versa. Teaching can be hard and overwhelming. Often stressed about meeting standards and preparing for assessments, sometimes we forget this very important part of our job. To truly connect with children, we must be sensitive and aware of not only the academic needs of our students but their emotional needs as well.
Play games, sing songs, team build. Kids that enjoy learning become lifelong learners. Make school fun! Nurture creative thinkers instead of cookie-cutter thinkers. Implement lessons that focus on higher-order thinking skills. Ask questions that begin with “why” or “how” to encourage students to form creative and thoughtful answers. Fostering an environment where your students feel safe to take risks, as well as having a fun learning experience, will promote creative thinking.
Help children feel like they share ownership of the room. Classrooms where the décor is inspired by Pinterest boards are lovely and fun, but are they effective learning environments? Leave a large chunk of your classroom open so the children can decide how the space should be used. Sharing ownership of the classroom shows students that this is our class not my class.
- Develop classroom expectations together. Gathering ideas and views about appropriate classroom expectations helps children feel more responsible for how the classroom should run. While you and/or the school may have some concrete rules in place, make sure you still ask the students as a group what they think are valuable and reasonable classroom expectations. Students are more likely to follow and adhere to classroom expectations when they have had some form of autonomy with setting the rules.
Colleen Schmit is the author of “Crisscross Applesauce and Shut the Hell Up: 10 Lessons for New and Seasoned Teachers”. She is a speaker, consultant, and early childhood program evaluator for The Nebraska Department of Education. Colleen has worked with young children for the past 15 years as a classroom teacher, program evaluator, and consultant. She is also a certified Pre-K CLASS trainer through Teachstone.