Building Relationships

This is a very important part of education. I hope people are realizing that content is not the only thing that teachers need to work on during the school day. I work in a 7-8 middle school and I see how important relationships are. My students are very much aware of the fact that some adults don't seem to care about them. I make sure that they know I care.

The best thing I have ever done to get to know my students was to have them write me an email on the first day of school. At this point we didn't really know each other so I told them that they need to tell me anything that they would want their teacher to know about them.

You wouldn't believe what I got. Some students told me about how they can't stand their sisters. Some confessed that they are a bit lazy, but they would try not to be for me. Some even told me their real feelings about being lonely at school because they don't have any real connections.

I was completely floored. I was expecting people to tell me about their favorite movie or favorite school subject (which were two questions that I used to use on my "get to know me questionnaire"). This let me get to know my students way more than any questionnaire. I didn't realize taking away all structures (pre-planned questions) would allow them to be 100% themselves. They wrote about what was important to them. I was so happy to have my inbox filled with these meaningful letters. I sat down and took the time to reply to every student with a meaningful comment and I made sure to ask questions in hopes of starting a real conversation.

Comments

  1. It's funny how much people will share if we simply ask them in a way that allows them to be honest, and open. The way I see you do that is by not being judgmental, and that is a great quality in a teacher.

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