I feel like I have always been able to connect with most of my students. Here are some things that I do/did that helped me make those connections:
- Ask students questions about what is going on in their lives. Then listen to what they say.
- Let students know about you! Reveal embarrassing moments, or high school memories, or what brings you to the community you are in.
- Show up at stuff. Easy to do in high school – there is always a game, event, club….Then talk with the students about their performance.
- Answer questions in a way that is inviting for others, that promotes questioning. Don’t answer questions in a way that shuts down the conversation or gives a stand offish impression.
- Sponsor an activity/club (see above)
- Have passion and let your students see it. Share your passion with them and give them no choice but to be sucked in!
- Allow your students to be unique – don’t force them all into the same box.
- Be genuinely happy to teach and interact with your students – they can tell if you enjoy what you are doing!
Did I connect with every student. No. Did I try? Yes! I think I made a difference and made positive connections – that was my goal every year!