And, honestly, poor rapport with students or parents (or anyone really!) can break you. Rapport can either build you up or break you down.
It’s THAT important.
The two types of relationship I want talk about building are those you build with your students and with your students’ parents.
1. The most important thing to me when building a rapport with students is, first, saying hello to them every single morning and asking them how they are doing. If Joey had an awful day yesterday, that was yesterday. He needs to know that you know that today is a new day, so start his day [and yours] by saying, “Good Morning Joey! How are you today?” This will lead to only good. Your students will believe that you care for them and aren’t out to “get them.”
2. This one might seem obvious, but it’s equally just as important as #1: getting to know your students. Invest time in getting to know them. Do they play sports? Siblings? What is each student’s favorite subject? All of these things are super important, not only to building rapport, but to lesson planning. If Marjorie doesn’t like math, you’ll want to try and spice it up for her! If you know that Spencer has Dyslexia and gets embarrassed during “popcorn readings,” you may adjust how and when he gets called on to read.
1. Let them know you are on their side… that you + them = a team. A good, working team that is in it for the same end goal: an educated child. Yes, even on those days when I may need to deliver upsetting news that your child tripped another student or called Sally an inappropriate name, we are still on the same team. Help them understand how to advocate for their children.
2. Promise to remember that parents, too, are human. And ask parents to remember that you, too, are human. You’ll both need to trust in the other, but it all comes back to #1. We are a team!
3. One of my absolute favorite things is collaborating with parents! I’m a well-educated person, but I will admit that I don’t have the answer to everything. Sometimes the best thing to do is ask the parent for help. Yes, I just said that. Ask the parent for help. Ask questions before IEP meetings. After all, they are the child’s parent and they know the child best. Not only does the parent feel like they have a say in their child’s education and that you care about their opinion and point of view, but the child will benefit in the long run. It’s a win-win.
What advice do you have about building rapport and relationships? Tell us in the comments below!