Question Detail

How can a new teacher build a rapport with students that balances friendliness with professional distance?

Jul 4, 2017 3:22am

  • Behavior / Class Culture / New Teachers


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    • Jul 21, 2017 6:44pm

      A new teacher can build rapport with students first by making a good “First Impression”! Teachers should greet students at the door. The first day you will call roll, but take time to verify pronunciations of names and learn preferred nicknames this would be a great way to start building rapport. Establish clear, concise and consistent Expectations, Rules, Procedures and Consequences and let the students be apart of the implementation process. Set boundaries for yourself and students, this shows students you are holding yourself accountable. Teachers must create a clean, safe and secure environment conducive to learning and different learning styles. Teachers must be fair and give praise when due. It is very important to be aware and respectful of Cultural, Ethnic, and Religious differences this shows students that you are not being judgmental; makes them comfortable. Always listen to your students and find ways to relate with them, but keeping your personal matters out. Communicate high expectations for all students and convey that all students can learn. Show interest in activities they are apart of outside of your class. Overall, teachers and students must show respect for each other. Teachers must be approachable and maintain open communication. You must have a positive and caring attitude, but we are not their friends. Remember, it is not what you say, but what you do!

      • Jul 22, 2017 11:12am

        You have to start strong and firm, there is always time to become more relaxed. This doesn't mean, mean. Establish classroom expectations for you and the students. Hold yourself accountable as well as the students. Apologize when you make mistakes. You should greet the students at the door as they arrive to your class. Call them by name and say something positive to them. If it is the first day and you don't know the students ask their name as you greet them. Have empathy when they are going through something. Stay positive even when disciplining. Keep an even tone, don't raise your voice or yell. Most important show that you care about them and their education. Showing interest in their activities outside of the classroom is a great way to show you care about them as a person.

        • 9:48am

          A new teacher can build rapport with students by laying out clear and consistent expectations for him/herself as well as for students. It is important that students understand what is expected of them and what they can expect from their teacher. I also think it's important that teachers present themselves in an open, kind, and friendly manner so as not to intimidate students. Speaking from experience as a person who can be shy at first, I was never as willing to approach an intimidating and seemingly grumpy teacher, even well into the school year.

          Consistency is key. New teachers might be tempted to try new behavioral or procedural strategies throughout the year to figure out what works best for their teaching style. I think it is important to stick with the procedures and and strategies that were implemented within the first few weeks of school. Changing one's plans in the middle of the school year, might lead to confusion and issues of trust with students.

          • 11:09am

            I think tone and body language set the stage for how you will engage with your students. A new teacher, especially a young one, has to be firm from the start when a student tries to "be friends." While it might seem innocent, teachers cannot allow students to become too comfortable with them.

            As an example, my first year of teaching was last year. I knew this balance was going to be a real challenge for me, especially in my 8th grade classrooms where attention is craved. I taught a semester long class and I felt I handled the balance well the first semester. What I did not account for, however, was that I would have several of my basketball players (I also coach 8th grade basketball) in one of my second semester classes. In basketball, I was more loose and easy going, so our relationship was a little bit more friendly than with a typical student. This caused issues in that class. My basketball players thought they could get away with stuff and laugh it off as a joke. This obviously caused a strain in the class and I knew I could not let some students get special treatment.

            • My grandpa, who used to teach, has always told me to be, "firm but fair." I find this to be the perfect answer to the question as you are firm, to show your professionalism in class, but also you are fair to show that you treat everyone equally. The fairness also showed that you acknowledge that they are human and are doing your best to be the leader in your classroom, while also taking their needs into consideration. I also maintain a professional persona in my class that is not the way I usually act. I tend to act more firm in class than I am and act less goofy than I usually do. That maintains the professional distance, but I tell my kids every day how much they mean to me and how much I want to help them. Act as a role model, not a friend. This helps maintain both as you are acting as the adult but also show through your actions that you care for your kids.

              • 1:10pm

                I have always grew up on words like respect, trust, and passion. Some of the men and women who were influences in my life were men and women that had my respect, I could trust them and they had so much passion for life. Rapport is like time... you can't buy it... you cant get it back, and you always wish you had more when it comes to certain situations. BUT... you can earn rapport. The inspiration that was given to me by those extraordinary men and women is something that I take with me today... in everything that I do. I feel as if I am always presentable, always respectable, always honest, and always charitable in life... I can have and build rapport with others. Just because you are kind, or nice, or easy to get along with does not mean that you can not be stern. Senior Master First Sgt. Frank Kayter was an AFJROTC instructor for 4 years in my high school education career. He was a father figure for me when I did not have one. He was hard on me, he tore me down when I needed to be tore down, he guided me when I was "off the path" and he let me know when I needed to
                "fix myself"... but this man also lifted me above all when I needed someone to notice. Although I feel like he took a special interest in me... I was wrong. Because this is how he was with EVERY person he encountered. He is a genuine man, that seeps passion, gives love, and he is a Godly man looking to just help others. I use him as a model for teaching and as a human being. Although, our relationship (as a father figure/mentor/teacher) could seem to be unrealistic for everyone or even out of place for a professional setting... I think if you can have every student look at you as if you were the gold standard for humans... I think thats ok by me. For me... I will use his characteristics as well as a great first impression to help build a rapport with my students, peers, and future friends. I look forward to taking what I have learned and giving back to others who may need a little bit of guidance and care.

                • 2:26pm

                  A new teacher needs to understand that they are first and foremost a teacher. Yes, he or she may be new to the classroom. However, the teacher should take charge of the room by creating a welcoming classroom environment. Students must want to be a part of a classroom community, and an excited, enthusiastic and passionate teacher helps create that sense of togetherness. Teachers must also take care to avoid becoming overly friendly with students. What exactly do I mean here? The teacher is a professional and must be seen as such by the students. Even though the teacher may only be a few years removed from college and close in age to students, he or she functions best as a facilitator of discussions and collaborations. The teacher should be seen as someone who is always present in the classroom and willing to listen to all students' perspectives on issues. Teachers must model the practice of active listening for students.

                  • A new teacher should recognize his or her personality tendencies when navigating the balance of friendliness and professional distance. If a new teacher knows she typically comes across as harsh or cold, she should focus on smiling occasionally and initiating friendly conversation with students during passing times. Teachers who tend to be overly friendly with students should begin the year establishing boundaries with students to maintain professional distance. New teachers should take time to ask students about themselves, but focus most on what the student is learning in their classes. Because the culture of every school is different, new teachers should ask their principals or department heads about the type of rapport expected between teachers and students.

                    • A new teacher can build rapport with students through body language and identifying clear expectations of student and teacher. The expectations of teacher should be clear and leave no room for students to test the boundaries. I think this helps in building rapport when the teacher sticks to the expectations and does not fold for some students. This builds classroom community and establishes that students should be committed to the classroom just like the teacher is.

                      I also think that body language says a lot in terms of building rapport with your students. If the teacher is displaying a body language that says he or she does not care, the students will model this. Another aspect of body language is posture and eye contact. Eye contact with your students shows that you are committed to listening to what they have to say and you are interested in their comments.