5 Tips to Better Connect with Students

I stumbled upon an extremely useful guide for improving the teacher/student relationship. The following are 5 tips for assisting teachers in reaching out to their students more effectively:

1- Pay attention to your students’ interests
Now that I’ve been teaching 10 years and I’ve mastered my subject area and the pedagogy of how to teach and reach every child’s learning style, I’m able to focus on the interpersonal things that make a big difference.

Administrators, school boards, and districts may see numbers, but numbers are not children. No child is a number. Children have names and hobbies and interests and family lives. Children are individuals and it is my job as a teacher to help them find their unique talents. I want to be the one that helped them on their journey of self-discovery.

2- Tell your students what they need to hear not what they want to hear.
I’m not here to be popular, I am here to teach. I am here to love these kids and to do what is right by their future selves. I believe I have succeeded when my students come back in 10 years and thank me. Sometimes they think I’m tough now and they groan, but I know that I’m doing right by them.

3- Take time to think about individual students
One of my heroes is the director of our learning lab here at Westwood, Grace Adkins. Every weekend she carries home a folder with the learning profiles, test results, and current work of 3 children who she works with in the lab, and she has been doing this for 60 years. She studies her students like a college student studies a textbook. She has doctors, lawyers, and bankers who credit her with helping them learn how to learn.

4- Learn to teach using many modalities.
Lecture may be ok some of the time, but it is never ok to do this all the time. Good teachers learn about pedagogy, the methods used to teach. Yesterday, I had a student dress up in a chef’s outfit with a mixing bowl and a recipe book with labels on everything to teach how microprocessors work. When I finished, my students said, “that is easy to understand.” A good teacher can demystify a complex topic and make it simple to understand.

5 – Let your passion come through.
If you love your topic, it will come through in your voice, your body language, and everything you do. There are times I’ve loved one subject more than another, but I can always get excited about teaching a child something for the first time that I know is valuable. I think it is important to let your own personality come through in your teaching.

The greatest challenge of teaching is reaching as many children as possible. Touching every student is an impossible task — but every moment in our lives as educators brings new opportunities.

I absolutely love this list. I think they have nailed some of the most essential methods for maintaining a strong connection between teacher and student.


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