Building rapport with students is a hard, challenging, still a rewarding work. In the older times it was expected that students will respect you just because you are a teacher. Today, we know, it will hardly happen. Perhaps, in some communities it still works, but most educators will agree that building rapport with student takes time and effort.
So, here are some tips for building connection with your students:
Tip #1. It is the simplest and the most obvious one. Just greet every student you meet in the hall. And if you are not in a good mood, pretend you are! Teachers’ mission is to create great positive environment for students. So, wear your hat and be positive — for all of your working day! Actually, being positive is a skill that need practicing, so you have a great opportunity to practice it every day. Do it! It also works great with your fellow teachers.
Tip #2. This one is a little more challenging than the previous one. Students are different and you cannot like them all in the same way. Teachers are human too (surprisingly!). And you will probably have some students that seem to have an intention to upset you. Such behavior usually has it reasons, and more often than not, those reasons are not about you. Probably, such students have been told for years that they are difficult, that their behavior is bad, and so on. Perhaps, they have not been told these things directly, but they could have learned them implicitly. It resulted in automatic thinking.
What can you do in this situation? You can find one good trait in a student like this, and like them for the trait. Forget about the subject you are teaching. Find something pleasant about this student — there must be something! It will be a great starting point for building rapport with them.
Tip #3. Remember that this is not just about individual people, but also about the community. Ask people who know the neighborhood, consult the internet, and do anything you can to learn all you can about the community you are working in. If you know nothing about the lives of your students and their families, you simply won’t be able to connect with them.
The differences in communities may have all sorts of consequences. For example, if you are a literature teacher, it would be useful for you to know what is the attitude towards plagiarism tools, such as Noplag plagiarism checker for example. You will be surprised to know that in some communities anti-plagiarism and check my essay internet tools are quite popular while in others they are not common.
Tip #4. Remember that the school for you and the school for them are two different places. And for them, it is not all about the academics, it is also about the environment. And for some of them school is a necessary evil, you have to understand that.
Tip #5. Remember that each of your students is authentic in some way. See them as people and care about them. It may sound as a cliché but it really helps if you want to build rapport with your students.