This is the final installment of our You Know You’re a Teacher When… series, based on the question we asked our network of teachers earlier this year. You probably won’t be surprised to learn that your peers highlighted those “aha!” moments of connecting with students as some of their most meaningful experiences.
We heard many stories of students reconnecting with teachers years later to tell them about the positive impact they had on their lives. We also heard stories of students who still recall something a teacher said or a classroom lesson that inspired them or that they carried with them throughout the years.
Here are other stories that teachers shared about making connections with their students.
“You Know You’re a Teacher When __________________ .”
“Your students make visible gains day by day!”
– Lorraine, Hawaii
“You feed, laugh with, worry about, cheer on, wipe tears from, and love on your students as if they were your own kids!”
– Becky, Texas
“The students’ faces light up when they learn something or remember how to do something.”
– Amber, South Dakota
“You kneel down on the students’ level to focus on them and what they are saying.”
– Beth Gibbons, New Brunswick, Canada
“You start teaching your former students’ children!”
– Aimee, Georgia
“You get an adrenaline surge when you realize your students are grasping a new concept!”
– Kelly, Maryland
“You get excited about assessments! Especially when students show growth!”
– Beverly, Colorado
“On the rainy days, the children play school and they use your hand actions to teach the class.”
– Sherry, Tennessee
Tips on Connecting With Your Students
A positive teacher-student relationship can contribute to a student’s academic and social development. Students who are comfortable and connected with their teachers are less likely to skip school, are more cooperative and engaged, and show resiliency in academic performance.
Here are several ways you can create a positive and connected classroom climate.
Be Sincere With Your Praise
Whether it’s words of praise for working hard or words of encouragement after a rough day, your actions should show your students that you’re on their side. Make sure your students know you believe in their abilities to handle a difficult assignment or improve their behavior.
Correct in a Constructive Way
Correcting and disciplining don’t always have to be negative. When teachers use a positive approach, students are able to maintain their dignity and are more likely to reflect on their behavior and make better choices in the future. Students will recall how you made them feel long after they have forgotten the consequences.
Initiate One-on-One Conversation
Purchase a small notebook for each of your students to keep in their desks. (Check out your dollar store for deals.) When they want to start a conversation, they can write you a note in the notebook and leave it on your desk. You can write a message back in return.
Reward Students with Your Time
Consider inviting students to have lunch with you when they’ve made big accomplishments. It makes them feel special and can start conversations you might not otherwise have.