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Making Time to Build Relationships With Students


Continuing with our series on Building Positive relationships with students today’s post is in answer to one of the most common objections which comes up when we talk about this subject… “I’m a busy teacher, I don’t have time to build relationships with challenging students?”

The answer to that is “You don’t have time NOT to build relationships with challenging students.”

Think about the amount of time spent mopping up incidents, and dealing with students who don’t follow instructions – THAT is a huge waste of time. Many teachers complain that they are unable to do their jobs purely because of the time spent dealing with behaviour problems. Students are more likely to behave for a teacher they respect, trust and get on with so spending time building relationships with them is going to SAVE you time in the long run.

Here are two simple ways of making time to build relationships. (If you have any others please add them as comments below)…

1. Delegate admin tasks

This method kills two birds with one stone – our most challenging students are usually crying out for attention and would almost certainly benefit from being given a responsibility of some kind. By delegating administration tasks we meet this need and also free ourselves up with some time to spend with other students.

2. Break times/lunch times

One of our colleagues who teaches full time spends every break time with students. His door is always open, he has board games set up and students know they can come in for a quiet chat, help with problems or a bit of fun. He rarely has problems with behaviour in his lessons because students respect the fact that he is there for them and wants to help them. Another colleague actually enjoys yard duty and bus duty – she says she feels the students respect the fact that she is going out of her way to spend time with them. On our courses we often hear from teachers who make a point of eating their lunch with students – chatting over a meal is relaxing and students tend to open up more when they are relaxed.

Golden Opportunities

This concludes the Stepping Stones to Positive Teacher/Student Relationships series but I want to leave you with this thought…

We mentioned earlier that relationships are build on dialogue and that the top level of the communication pyramid is the best area to connect with students – the area of feelings and emotions. If you think about it, students are operating at this emotional level when they are wound up and frustrated.

So when things go wrong in the classroom, when tempers flare, this is the perfect time to connect. The time that they are most vulnerable is the time to show them that you are there to help and support them, it is one of the the best times to reach them.

This is what we mean by Golden Opportunities – every problem is an opportunity.

If you have enjoyed this series you may be interested in our new resource – Relationship Builders. This is a collection of fantastic activities and resources for building positive relationships in the classroom. You can read about it here.

4 comments
Doris says 13th November 2011

Thank you very much for sharing these ideas.I do find they are of great help.
Hope everything goes god with you all and that we keep in touch for future information on the topic.
Wish you the best of luck in the work you are carrying on.

A Relief Teacher's Journey - The 3 Keys (Part 1): Building Positive Relationships says 17th September 2011

[…] Chris (June 15, 2010). Making Time to Build Relationships with Students. From the Behaviour Needs Blog […]

Nina Eriksen says 8th July 2010

Well, after trying the method out for two years I have discovered that building good working relationships have to be a two way street. Because as much as you try it will never really be effective unless there is a joint effort on behalf of two parties. And then there is the case of sustainability.

Abbey says 15th June 2010

This has been a really usefull blog, full of great ideas to help us improve our practice – the fact that it has been ‘chunked’ has also made me sit and read little and often – not having information overload!!

Thank you Chris, for continuing this blog; I wish Rob and his partner a full and speedy recovery.

Kind regards,

Abbey 🙂

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