Thursday, September 26, 2013

Building Relationships

 Do you build relationships with your students?  What do you do with "that" child that pushes EVERY. Single. Button... DAILY, many times???  Have you tried to build a relationship??

After all, it's not simply about teaching.  You bring home not only papers to grade, lesson plans to write, activities to make, but you bring home every student, especially THAT one on your heart each and every day.

That's what makes you a great teacher.  No matter what the impossible situation.  No matter, how tired and exhausted you might become.  It really is all about the students.

I'm sure you've had lots of different scenarios in your own classroom. In my 25 years of teaching, I've had plenty of my own.  I've built some great relationships and made some new friends.

I know for a fact, that I understood exactly what it means to build relationships about 15 years ago when I had a student die...in my classroom.  A child, 6 years old.  I was the last person he ever spoke to and I was the last person he ever heard speak to him.  Later, his parents sent me the sweetest letter, thanking me and telling me since they weren't able to be with him, they were so glad I was because he loved me.  I loved him too.  I love ALL of my students.  Even those hard ones...deep down.

I've spent my evening making some phone calls to parents.  I've set up some conferences, encouraged a parent to help her son study his 3s multiplication facts, because he just cannot pass that timed test, called just to say I enjoy having their child in my room.  The extra time and effort I put into this, REALLY makes all the difference in the world.

I have 80 students that I teach this year.  YOWZERS.  It's taking me a while, and I've not been able to make contact with all of them yet, but writing a note in the agenda and e-mailing parents is another big part of my week and a way to make contact and build relationships.

This year, I chose two students that I had contact with in 2nd grade. I knew one had a really bad home life and she wears a GIGANTIC chip on her shoulder because of this.  The other student had already developed a swagger and an attitude.  I hand wrote both of them a personal note telling them how glad I was to have the opportunity to teach them.  I made it very personal about what was going on in their lives and where I could see them at in a few years as they were getting ready to graduate from highschool.  I told them that I believed in them. 

I saw both students read the note, but they never mentioned it to me.  Would you believe that both of them are my two biggest champions?  They try to make sure the rest of the class is doing what they are supposed to do.  They tried their hardest to be the best student they can be.  One of them (in a self-contained eip math group) has made huge gains with only 7 weeks into the year.  It's amazing to watch the turn around in their attitudes... all because of a note that took me about 10 minutes to write.

Building a relationship?  Yes, it takes a little extra time, a concentrated effort, and looking a little deeper into each student.  But, it is so worth the time.

If you were the last person to speak to that student, would you have no regrets?  Build that relationship.  You'll never regret it!

In fact, I think it's time for me to choose two more students to receive a handwritten positive letter from me.  That's just...



1 comment:

  1. Cynthia,
    What an excellent post. My heart goes out the you and family of the little one that passed away so early in life. My hat is off to you. You are one amazing teacher. Thanks for investing so much in our little guys.

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