Establishing rapportEstablish rapport in a classroom will be, for me, the most important and difficult aspect of teaching. Rapport in a classroom is extremely important and sets the tone for the learning environment. If a teacher is too serious then students can become bored, afraid to comment, and scared to make mistakes. If a teacher is too casual then students could potentially be lackadaisical about learning, easily become sidetracked by other topics, or even treat the teacher with disrespect. It is important to get this part just right in order to establish control in the classroom and still engender respect for yourself and the topic that is being discussed. Rapport is something that can be established the first day and influences how the remaining session will be.
As a teacher, we are authority figures. Even if we are the same age and education levels we want and should be seen as the authority on the topic that we are teaching and also have the final say on how things will be run in the classroom. I know that I have the tendency to be too casual and therefore I need to make sure that I do things to engender respect for the classroom, the other people in the class, and for myself as a teacher. Ellen Kronowitz, a famous teacher and author said this, ?The clothing and words you chose will often determine how much respect, and status your students accord you!? Therefore, an important thing is for the teacher to dress appropriately. I think that in most countries this means a tie for men and business casual for women. The way a teacher dresses subtly tells students the amount of regard that the teacher has for the topic presented. In most cases, the students will reflect their teacher?s attitude for the topic. In addition, the words and topics we choose
to speak about in class should be ones that help students to achieve their goal of learning English. The goal in the classroom is not to become friends with the students even though we may have their best wishes at heart. The goal is to establish an environment that will help them to improve their lives and their English.
On the other hand, the atmosphere in the classroom should not be too serious. Language is about talking, listening, communicating, and exchanging ideas. In order for a person to become good at this, especially in a different language, they will need to be able to feel comfortable. Levity can be introduced in the classroom by means of the lesson plans. A teacher can and should take the time to pick activities that the class will both enjoy and remember. The new york
City Leadership Academy says that students ?learn best in an environment of structured freedom.? I think that this means planning a lesson that will allow the students to accomplish the same goals a variety of different ways. If we can help them feel that we appreciate their participation, originality, and individual ideas then, we can create an environment that is constructive, memorable, and efficient. It is my goal to create such a rapport with the students that I teach. I hope that the relationships I create are ones that give them the best chance of reaching their goals with English.