Though you may be teaching high school, you are not in high school. You are not running for Class President or Prom King. Moreover, as a teacher, you are required to do things that are actually unpopular–such as issuing consequences or giving bad grades. As stated in an earlier article: an effective teacher does not Ms. Congeniality make. Yet, what teacher doesn’t want to have a good relationship with his or her students?
This, the seventh in the series of eight articles on classroom management, focuses on relationship building. Use the strategies below to win your students’ trust and their hearts.
FLATTER THEM. Give specific and sincere compliments. Instead of saying, “You guys did great,” say, “I appreciate the way you sat attentively through the two-hour presentation.”
CONSULT THEM. Get students’ input about movies, field trips, and activities. Make choices, or revise curricula and content, based on their feedback.
WRITE TO THEM. On assignments, point out things your students do well. A positive note on an assignment–no matter what the grade–will give your students a boost of confidence.
WARN THEM. Before a student “gets in trouble,” warn them about the behavior and then help them find ways of avoiding consequences. Setting your students up for success in this way will show them that you have their best interests in mind.
CORRECT THEM. Or, to use the more politically correct term, give them consequences. Though it may seem counter-intuitive, issuing consequences according to your classroom rules will feel predictable and consistent. This will make students feel safe.
REWARD THEM. Just as you can warn them about negative behavior, you should reward students for meeting expectations. An end-of-semester party, a special trip, or a choice of activities is a great way to do this.
Having a positive relationship with your students and managing your classroom effectively are not mutually exclusive. In fact, relationship building is a key part of classroom management. When you use the tips above, you will both build a solid rapport with your students and sure up your classroom management skills.