Teaching isn’t the easiest job. It’s a challenging profession that requires a great deal of time, effort, and dedication. But it doesn’t have to be as difficult as the media points out. Better teachers have a deeper connection with their students, and every tutor can achieve this with a bit of practice.
So, drop “hip personality,” ditch the jokes, and let’s explore three failproof strategies for connecting with every student in your classroom.
Tip #1: Get to Know Your Students
Take the time to know your students on a personal level by understanding their backgrounds and interests. They’ll be more comfortable with your presence in class when they notice your interest. You can also tailor your teaching approach to meet their needs and create a more inclusive and supportive classroom environment.
Here are some strategies for building a deeper connection with your students:
- Attend extracurricular activities, like sports games or music performances, to support your students outside the classroom.
- Use icebreakers or team-building activities to encourage them to share information about themselves and connect.
- Make time for one-on-one conversations with students to discuss their interests, goals, and challenges.
- Incorporate student interests into your lesson plans to increase engagement and motivation.
- Show a genuine interest in your students’ lives by asking them questions and actively listening to their responses.
Tip #2: Show Empathy and Compassion
Encourage students to approach you with their concerns or questions by creating an open-door policy. Show genuine interest in their lives and hobbies, and try to remember important details and milestones, making them feel heard and understood.
Additionally, students may experience different emotions throughout the school day, and you should recognise and validate these feelings. Let them know it’s okay to feel a certain way and offer support or guidance when needed.
You should also praise and recognise students’ achievements, both big and small, to boost their confidence. It demonstrates that you care about their progress and success.
Finally, You must understand that every student has unique needs and circumstances and be willing to adapt your teaching style to accommodate them. For instance, if students struggle with a specific concept, offer them extra resources or one-on-one tutoring.
Tip #3: Provide Opportunities for Student Voice and Choice
Your students should have a voice and choice in their learning experience. This includes choosing their own project topics, having a say in the classroom rules and expectations, or even participating in how the classroom is organised. Giving students control over their learning keeps them engaged and motivated to think outside the box and own their classroom experiences.
Here are a few strategies to get you started:
- Let students lead discussions and debates on topics that interest them in small groups or as a whole class.
- Give students the option to choose how they demonstrate their learning, whether it be through a written essay, presentation, or project.
- Let students lead in some parent-teacher conferences by having them present their progress and goals.
- Let students choose their own project and assignment topics. You can give them a list of options to develop their ideas.
- Involve students in creating classroom rules and expectations through a discussion or a vote.
Connect With Every Student
As educators, we must build strong connections with our students to make them feel safe, engaged, and empowered in their learning journey. Through these connections, we can truly make a difference in their lives and set them up for success both in and out of class. So, let’s commit to fostering inclusive learning environments that celebrate diversity and offer equal opportunities for all students to thrive.