As a teacher, one of the most effective things you can do is build relationships within the classroom. When your students feel connected to you and to each other, they ultimately feel safe and comfortable in their learning space.
Relationships in the classroom have many benefits; they help students achieve goals, solve classroom management issues, connect with you as their teacher, and create a happy, healthy classroom environment. It doesn’t have to be complicated to spark these connections, either. There are many ways you can easily reach your students.
Relationship SEL Lessons
My biggest suggestion is for you to grab some SEL lessons that are based on building relationships. These kinds of lessons are perfect for helping you reach each student effectively. They focus on developing social and personal social skills that can be helpful in and out of the classroom.
These SEL lessons here are complete with teacher guides, reading material, activities, and more. They are specifically made to help students build up their relationship skills. A few of the topics are
- Our Actions Affect Others
- How to Apologize
- Choosing Kindness
- Disagreeing Respectfully
- Starting Conversations
- Good Sportsmanship
All of these lessons are phenomenal skills that can be taught at any age. The books that go along with these lesson plans and the activities can are perfect for helping get the message across to each student. This is such an effective way to begin the relationship-building process in your classroom!
Take advantage of every chance you get to spend one-on-one time with a student. During recess and cafeteria time is a great way to sneak in some friendly conversation. Free time in the classroom, centers, and breaks are other times you can easily connect with students.
One of the sweetest moments is when a student comes up simply just to talk and show an active interest in you as their teacher. Even if it is a time they should be working, or you need to get something done, take a few seconds to hear what they have to say, answer their questions and encourage them to continue their work. These small moments can mean a lot to kids, especially if they are used to being brushed off by other adults.
Small groups, center time, outside play, etc., are the best opportunities to encourage teamwork. When students have the option to work alongside their classmates and make friends, they are given the opportunity to actively get to know their peers and work on their social skills. These groups can plant seeds of relationships that blossom into friendships.
Even if it may be distracting at times, or there may have to be some boundaries and dynamic changes after these strong friendships are made, that is okay! These peer connections are vital to students’ success in the classroom and their positive feelings towards school time in general.
Spark Whole Class Conversations
Conversation is the goal. While reading a book to the class, you can stop to ask questions or get their interpretations of the story. This is not only great for educational purposes but relationship building within the class as a whole as well. Speaking about opinions, personal reasoning, and ideas aloud strongly encourages confidence for students who may be a bit shier to speak up. Again, creating the safe space they need to feel comfortable in their environment.
You can also attend student events, encourage humor, and share your own stories and interests to help build relationships with students. You are their source for many things during the school year. So, ensuring they feel connected and that they can trust you in this new environment is vital.