Respectful Student and Teacher Relationships

The power that comes from building strong respectful relationships between students and teachers cannot be overstated.  I am spending the first week of my school year, getting to know my students and let them get to know me.  There is power there.  Many people think that students will do what is asked of them without reason.  However, that is simply compliance, and compliance only breeds one thing, fear.  If students instead learn how to self-manage their behavior so that they can act like professionals in the classroom, then they can reciprocate the respect that most teachers try to extend, myself included.

You see, students don’t have to learn anything.  Sometimes the media and corporate business professionals forget that education is about leading children into adulthood.  They are going to rebel.  They will only learn when they are ready.  That readiness comes from an intrinsic motivation mutually built with both trust and respect.  Once a teacher has the respect and trust of students, those children will bend over backwards to accomplish what the teacher believes they are capable of.  It’s a transference of self-efficacy that contributes to the highest levels of student success.  Don’t believe me?  Look up what John Hattie calls Collective Teacher Efficacy.

This type of learning doesn’t come from a book or online program.  It comes from strong respectful student-teacher relationships.  As you can see from the picture in the title, it doesn’t hurt using simple team-building exercises either, such as say … building a card house in four minutes with three partners.  It’s apparently harder than you would think (especially when competitive students get pressured by the time clock).



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