In my opinion, the most important part of teaching is developing positive and trusting relationships with our students. As you may or may not know, improving student-teacher relationships increases individual student engagement, boosts academic achievement and creates social advancement. In addition, establishing an environment that is positive and trusting will ultimately spark a students desire to learn, especially when the teacher addresses a students individual learning style. Understanding a specific students learning style will demonstrate that we care about how they learn which will in turn motivate them to perform academically. Ultimately student-teacher relationships can be established by creating a high level of trust, honesty and vulnerability.
So, how do we forge positive relationships with our students that instill trust, honesty, and vulnerability? We demonstrate these characteristics within ourselves. First, building trust might look like the following: when a student has been experiencing bullying from other students, he/she chooses to come to you because they trust you. They trust that you will guide them to the right resources and show empathy. Do your students know without a doubt that they can rely on you when they need it? Can they trust you? Second, developing honesty requires conversation about what honesty looks like. Articulate the expectations in regard to honesty in the classroom by discussing and modeling the behavior. Are you and your students able to be honest with each other? Finally, building vulnerability allows students to step out of their comfort zone and open themselves up to changes in the classroom. Teachers can demonstrate their own vulnerability by sharing their stories, hobbies, and interests, and admit when they are wrong.