Building Trust with Students

So, it’s the beginning of the school year.  How do we build trust with our students?  With peers, you talk chit-chat to get to know them.  When instructional coaches are working with teachers you take the 20-2 approach (2-minute conversations about non-work related items, 20 days in a row).  But what about students?

This year, I’ve decided to institute Brain Breaks during class.  Most teachers use them, but I plan on having one half way through class everyday.  I use the Musical Timer extension on Chrome, and set up a schedule so that half-way through each class period, music starts to play.  When the music starts, we all stop what we are doing and stand.  The class then does one of 12 silly (non-academic) activities to just break any tension.

What I’ve seen so far, is that the students are struggling to either let go of the academic tasks at hand to play, or they have some social anxiety that inhibits them.  This allows me to approach those students within that 4 minute break and talk to them.  The on task students are usually my over-achievers and my reluctant ones are afraid to take risks.  I work with each of them to get their guard down and just have fun.  It’s actually much easier because what I am asking them to do is just silly fun that reminds them of being a child.

It has brought me closer to my students in a quicker way than I would have realized.  Dr. Kagan calls it class or team building exercises.  I just call it having fun.  How do you build trust in your students?

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