This week I talked about building relationships with students, and I wanted to elaborate on that a little here. The single most influential thing that I have done in my teaching career is build relationships. It helps students to know that you are a human and that you actually care about them and whatever is happening in their lives. I talk a bit more about it below the video.
I had a parent (who also worked at the high school) tell me that her son, who was one of my students, had done reading interest surveys before, but nothing was ever done with them. He appreciated that I used the information he told me in our conversations about his reading life. It went a long way to building a relationship with this kid. And his mom said that she hadn’t seen him read that much in a long time.
Relationships make almost all the difference in the world. I also think it helps us be more compassionate. Not that you don’t have to continue to hold students to a high standard even when they have things going on at home that are hard, but that you have the kind of relationship where you can acknowledge the challenges and still support them in their academic learning.