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10 Tips to Connect with Your Students

Your students are yearning for a connection with their teacher, not one confined to the subject you teach. Students often perform better if they have that connection. They also listen and are more curious about what they're being taught. Here are a few ways to cultivate that connection.

1. Show Interest in your Students' Lives and Well-Being

Are you genuinely interested in your students, or do you want to finish your lesson and leave? Show genuine interest in your students by asking about their lives outside the classroom. What are their hobbies? Are they facing any challenges? Make sure to follow up as well to show your interest.

2. Establish Clear Expectations and Rules

Have an interactive session with your students to create the rules for your class. Remember to be lenient on some issues if it's important to your students but don't let them walk all over you. Let the students come up with the rules for common problems. If it comes from them, they will abide by them.

3. Foster a Sense of Community in the Classroom

Have groups work and give them activities to be done in teams. Make the teams randomly so students can get to know their classmates better. Make this clear and even go further by having the students state positive things they encounter in different groups. Help them see the best in others, and they will cherish you.

4. Use Humor and Levity

Students are accustomed to adults being serious all the time. Sometimes give your students a peep into your humorous side. Try to make a joke, even if it might be bad. They are bound to take it well and feel more comfortable with you for the effort.

5. Use Positive Reinforcement and Encouragement

Be the boost that keeps your students going. Sometimes they have a tough time and could use some motivation. Be the teacher they look forward to meeting because you are full of "good vibes," as they call it.

6. Be Open and Approachable

One way to get your students to consider you approachable and open is by conducting an interactive session where you get to ask each other questions. You can let students ask questions about yourself; ensure you only share things you feel comfortable with. Sharing things you are passionate about helps you bond with your students and also helps inspire them. You also get to know what your students are passionate about.

For example, you can ask them to suggest interesting things to do during the next break. That way, they all get to exchange ideas, and if you participate in their suggestions, they feel that you respect and consider their suggestions.

7. Seek Feedback

Most teachers have a system that works and do the same thing every year. The saying goes, "if it isn't broken, don't fix it." While this saying has merit, be a different kind of teacher. Have a structure and a framework that works but be open to changing the content inside. 

Using the framework, you can try to accommodate your students by asking them what they would like, and every so often, you can try their suggestions. By doing so, your students feel you value their feedback and will connect better with you.

8. Encourage Participation

You can cultivate participation in many ways. Starting lessons with fun quizzes about random facts or topic-related questions is bound to trigger interest in your students. They'll think you're a fun teacher and connect better with you. Fun quizzes also send the students on an information hunt; they'll learn without knowing it. 

9. Add Value

Every once in a while, nourish your student's minds with invaluable advice. Please don't overdo it. Just giving subtle hints to guide them in the right direction is enough. As a teacher, you have learned some lessons along the way. Pass them on.

10. Read Books Together

Books are a creative way to bond with your students. Today, there are many titles to choose from, and a well-chosen title is bound to leave an impression. 

Getting a book about a character's first day at school and how anxious it makes them feel would help your students understand they are not the only ones. It could also make them even more excited to realize that their teachers feel the same sometimes. One such book is the First Day Jitters.

Written by Denis K.
Education World Contributor
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