The 4 Easy Things That Will Help You to Build Great Relationships With Any Classroom
Establishing rapport in the classroom is essential if you are going to have a successful class. In this paper, I will examine some of my classroom experience and compare my successful classes to my less-successful classes. In doing so, I hope to make an observation about “best practices” that I can implement in my English teaching. Along with using my own experience, I will be talking with other teachers that I know and using the provided text that I have been given for this course. The three areas I will focus on are: Beginning the course, student participation, and being positive. Beginning the Course.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Taylor C.
1. Determine the course in the beginning
How a teacher begins a course will determine how the rest of the course goes. I have seen this to be true in all of the classes I have taught and taken. I distinctly remember one of my favorite classes in college. It was a family communication course. The professor started out with many “get to know you” games. This allowed us to get to know each other as students. We did some military “team building” exercises that were very memorable. Each exercise we did teach us a lesson about the importance of working as a team.
At the end of the first day, my professor brought everybody back together and said, “There is one thing that is essential to a good class, but most teachers don’t do. Do you know what it is?”
We all tried to guess what it could be. We guess everything from knowing the student’s names to doing “get to know you” games. He said, “Those are all important, but not the most important on the first day. The most important thing a teacher can do on the first day is to let the class out a little early.”
We were all stunned at the answer. We didn’t think of that at all. It makes sense though, doesn’t it? As we left class early that day we were excited to come back for the next class session.
2. Let students know about themselves
Our text says that in order to establish good rapport a good teacher should make sure that the students get a chance to get to know a little bit about themselves. It also says that at the beginning of each course a teacher should do some sort of ice-breaking activity to get the students more comfortable with each other (Unit 5, page 11 of our text). I have found that doing these things, as well as some others, is essential to having a good class session for the remainder of the course.
3. Do not supply everything yourself
While I was doing my student teaching, I would always have my instructor come and observe me. I remember feeling really good about a lesson I had given one day. As he spoke to me afterward, he gave me some words of correction. He told me that there was too much “Taylor Talk.” I had told many stories about my own experience that I didn’t let the students participate! This caused the students to begin to come to class thinking that they would just sit and listen.
I have since corrected my error and started eliciting information from the students. It was incredible to see the transformation that took place. Students came to class with stories of how they had implemented something we learned in class in the outside world. Not only that, I wasn’t just a teacher anymore. I became a learner as well. I have learned so much from my students in my career. It is all because I have allowed them to speak and participate in the classroom.
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4. Be positive in everything you do
My teaching experience has taught me that student almost has a 6th sense. This is a sense that they have for reading their teacher. From the very first moment they meet you they begin to assess whether or not you are going to be a good teacher. One of the main factors that they look at is if you are a positive person.
I have noticed in my career that those who teachers who love their job and are positive, usually have classes that love their experience. Positivity rubs off on the students and it all starts with the teacher.
I am not saying that a teacher has to be 100% happy all the time. That would be presumptuous and wrong. The teacher has bad days just like everybody else does. It is the good teachers who push through those bad days and focus on the positive.
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These are just four things about building a rapport that I have noticed throughout my career. These things can be implemented in the classroom by doing simple things. They aren’t hard to do, but the implementation of these three things will make or break the classroom experience. I am still learning as a teacher, but I am glad that I have learned these three things early on in my career.
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