Tips to Build Rapport With Students

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Classroom Tips
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Classroom Tips
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Sound like an illusive holy grail? It needn’t be.

As teachers our main hope is that we can impart some useful lessons that will help the students we teach. Building rapport is a key to allowing us to achieve this. By building rapport we seek to match our teaching skills with students who are willing to take on our advice.

As relief teachers, the temporary nature of our role means we usually only have a short time to connect with students. And there’s various types of connection right – at either extreme, there’s the overbearing disciplinarian or the somewhat weak best friend. Being liked or feared isn’t necessary however, nor what’s usually recommended.

What IS key in building rapport is that the students know you are a trusted source of information – someone that’s going to give them something valuable during your lessons.

Students of successful teachers know their teacher wants to teach them useful lessons in an engaging way.

Drawing on decades of classroom experience, including years as a relief teacher, here’s our top tips to achieving rapport:

Start simple, fun & engaging –

A great first tip as a shortcut to this goal is starting the day with a simple, fun and engaging activity. Something that will get them laughing and eager to join in.

Practice what you preach –

Make sure that you practice what you preach. Don’t yell at a loud student or abuse a bully for example. By demonstrating fairness you will allow the students to trust you more.

Non-judgemental & understanding –

Seek to understand individual student needs quickly and respond to students in a non judgemental way to encourage inquisitiveness and participation.

Small groups –

Work in small groups to give students the responsibility of running a discussion, ensure you listen twice as much as you talk in these situations and be respectful when entering and leaving a group as you work your way around.

Participate outside of class –

Proactively take on duties outside the classroom. This isn’t just a great way to demonstrate your engagement and commitment to the students but also a handy bonus to impress the school administration and leadership.

Keep it professional –

Finally, in all situations maintain professionalism by avoiding involving yourself in students’ family matters (unless necessary) and avoiding being too critical of information or behaviour that may have  come from parents.

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