Building Relationships with All Students
By: Ali Tanner
Every day in classrooms across Jeffco, whether virtual or in-person, educators are working hard to build and maintain relationships with their students. This is no easy task. We aren’t just building relationships with students on the surface, but striving to cultivate a lasting connection with far less face-to-face time than ever before. Our ‘teacher hearts’ know the positive impact that relationships can have on the learning culture of our classrooms. Research also supports this idea, with Teacher-Student Relationships having a whopping 0.52 effect size according to John Hattie’s work in Visible Learning. We know quality teacher-student relationships play a foundational role for student success.
As we reflect on the culture of our classrooms and our touchpoint with students, we might consider these questions (adapted from the Distance Learning Playbook, pg. 51 and 62):
One strategy you could use to continue to deepen your conversations and relationships with students is called “What’s in MY News?”. This strategy, shared by Sarah K. Ahmed in Being the Change, provides a place and space for your students (and yourself if you’d like to join in) to share what is on their mind - what is currently ‘their news’. Examples of student news could range from “I am worried about my grade” to “tomorrow is my birthday.” This strategy could be adapted for content specific news (maybe tied to self-reflection and assessment) or more open-ended depending on your students and your classroom.
Start off with a blank table like the one shown above. Model for the students how they might complete each section of the table, being sure to make connections between what we are feeling, why we might be feeling it, and what we can do moving forward. Once they have completed the table, you could create an opportunity for students to share their news, or use this as a silent reflection tool. To start, you might consider using only the first two columns. Then, as your students grow comfortable with the strategy, you can add in the identity and action pieces. Any way you choose to adapt and use this strategy in your classroom, you are sure to learn a little bit more about your students and, in turn, strengthen your relationship with them.
Curriculum & Instruction