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Positive teacher-student relationships are incredibly important in the academic and social development of your students. A supportive relationship between a student and teacher has the ability to impact a student’s life in the moment as well as the future. Whether you find developing a rapport with your students easy or difficult, employing the following strategies will help you to connect with your students on a deeper and more personal level.

1. Find out more about your students

Connecting with your students starts with getting to know them. At the beginning or each semester or school year make an effort to know all of your student’s names. Use a seating chart to help you learn names faster. An easy way to get to know your students is to assign a project at the beginning that requires students to talk about themselves. Doing so will not only help you judge their technical skills, but you are able to identify some personal qualities.

2. Ask students for feedback.

When you have an opportunity, as your students for feedback. Have your students write down a few sentences about any questions or concerns they may have. By reading through this feedback and even acting upon it, not only show your students you care but that you value their opinions. Doing this also helps to create an environment where students feel safe to speak out and ask questions.

3. Make an effort to reach out to your students individually.

Don’t stop learning about your students after the beginning of the semester. Be active in getting to know your students by reaching out and having conversations with your students. Implementing the 2X10 strategy is great for students who might have some behavioral issue. These individuals conversation are quick to do and will help show your students you genuinely care.

4. Set boundaries.

While it is important to have an open and welcoming classroom, you will want to set some boundaries.  At the end of the day, you are still a teacher, not a friend. Setting boundaries from the beginning will not only encourage respectful behavior from your students but keep the students on task. Dr. Jane Bluestein, an expert on building relationships, encourages all educators to keep a few strategies in mind when setting boundaries for your classroom.

Implementing these four strategies is an effective way of creating a student-teacher relationship that is personal and will impact your students throughout their academic career.