Question Detail

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

Jul 3, 2017 10:22am

  • Behavior / Class Culture / New Teachers


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    • Jul 22, 2017 9:12am

      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.

      • Jul 25, 2017 7:48am

        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.

        • Jul 25, 2017 9:09am

          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.

          • Jul 25, 2017 11:05am

            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.

            • Jul 25, 2017 11:10am

              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.

              • Jul 25, 2017 12:26pm

                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.

                • Jul 25, 2017 8:13pm

                  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.

                  • Jul 25, 2017 8:26pm

                    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.

                    • Jul 26, 2017 9:57am

                      I believe a teacher begins building rapport the moment they meet a student. A teacher can build rapport by being friendly, attentive, and organized. The first day of class is very important and a teacher should really seem like they know what they are doing (ex. by being organized), to build rapport and allow the students to view the teacher as professional. The teacher should lay out the expectations and procedures at the beginning of class so there is no question of how much a student will get away with. I feel like by stating the rules as expectations, it helps a teacher seem more friendly, but also lets a student know that they are professional and serious about their job at the same time. I feel like when building rapport, it is important to have some sort of fun ice breaker activity planned. A teacher should allow the students to have fun but remember to implement the expectations if students get too unruly while playing the ice breaker game. This again shows that the teacher is serious but friendly at the same time.

                      • Jul 26, 2017 9:45pm

                        I think this is a skill that is important in any professional career or relationship, but especially in the classroom with our students. Rapport is established, first and foremost, through trust. Once students trust that the teacher has their best interest and safety in mind, the students will be more likely to work and respect the boundaries of the classroom and the rules and procedures predetermined by the teacher. Teachers with healthy boundaries understand that maintaining friendliness and consistency is key to trust and rapport, but going past those limits is inappropriate. If a new educator can maintain an attitude of professionalism and consistency, students will understand the limits of rapport and relationship without pushing the boundaries.

                        • Jul 27, 2017 9:35am

                          Building rapport can start by greeting student at the beginning of class.First, as an educator you have to continue to greet student on a daily basis, this will keep the classroom environment consistent.. Learning students names and speaking to students in the hallways, not just in your classroom also helps build rapport. “First impression” can have a dramatic impact on how students respect and view you as a teacher. Although as an educator you are to be friendly, as a new teach you must be firm and uphold your rules and procedures.Everyone respects discipline, not punishment but discipline, which creates boundaries.. There will be those students that want to test those boundaries but as a teacher you must stand firm to your behavioral expectations. Next, you must earn students trust, students are willing to open up and listen to someone they feel they can trust. Students need stability and comfort to feel secure while in your class. Interacting with students about things you have notice on campus or school activity are ways to improve conversation. Talk to students about things outside of the classroom and not about class work. Find out what students enjoy doing in their free time, ask them about those hobbies outside of class. In order to keep the relationship between student and teacher strong everyone has to receive equal treatment.

                          • Jul 27, 2017 2:24pm

                            New teachers can build rapport with students by making sure they are firm but respectful from the first day on. Students will be more willing to respond respectfully to a teacher if they know that the teacher "means business," yet is willing to be empathetic and friendly to students at the same time. For instance, teachers should always stick firmly to their rules and procedures that they have put in place for their students, but always strive to be a teacher that students feel comfortable approaching for help and questions they might have. Teachers can achieve this by always having a gentle tone of voice with students, never raising their voice or yelling at students no matter the situation, and keeping a positive attitude in the classroom every day. Teachers who love their jobs and the subject they are teaching are usually always more respected and loved by students rather than the teachers who clearly do not want to be in the classroom. This love for students and job as well as consistency with rules and policy will go a long way for building a professional rapport with students.

                            • Jul 27, 2017 2:25pm

                              Greeting the students at the door with a friendly smile and a pleasant "Hello" is an easy first step toward building a balanced, professional rapport. Creating a safe, inviting classroom environment helps students feel connected and comfortable. Make an effort to learn names as quickly as possible as it shows you are invested in your students. Clear rules and expectations for both you and the students are important. Asking your students to help create some of these rules gives them ownership in the class. Your class is a team and each member of the team has an important role. Students need to feel they are accepted and included and this is established through trusting you as their teacher. You can be friendly without being your students' friend. Your role is as a facilitator to learning. Guiding students and often learning beside them. Dressing professionally, acting professionally and being fair but kind helps students see us in a respectable light.

                              • Jul 27, 2017 4:36pm

                                A new teacher can build rapport with students by making an effort to build a relationship with them. This relationship should be friendly, but still professional. One way to begin building those relationships is to greet students at the door before class. Smiling and saying hello to each student before class begins is a good way to show that you care about them. Asking students how they are doing and finding out about their interests is another great way to form those bonds. The key here, though, is to keep conversations appropriate. It should be evident to our students that we are not their "friends." It is important that we make our students feel safe and cared about.

                                • Jul 27, 2017 5:10pm

                                  To build strong rapport with your students I think one of the first things you have to do is set the tone for the class. Be someone who will be there for them but also be someone who can enforce rules and punishment. To be an effective new teacher you need to establish yourself immediately and build yourself on their respect and they build themselves off of yours. You don't have to always be Mr. Nice Guy to have an influence on a child. You must be a good role model that will be there for them when they ask for your help. That does not mean you can't engage in a conversation with your students but make sure you don't dive into any personal details. Always be the one to ask how their weekend was or how they are doing this semester. You don't need to be the one diving into their personal lives. Be one who can admit when you are wrong and always be willing to change for the students needs. You need to care for each student and not show favorites. Being a teacher of the class and showing everyone that you care for each and everyone of them as an individual and as a group. Be the new teacher who has their respect and their friendship. That's how you will build the best rapport with your classroom.

                                  • Jul 27, 2017 5:51pm

                                    A new teacher can build a good rapport with students from the very first day of classes. A new teacher should meet them at the door, call them by name, if known, if you don't know their name, ask! The first impression is the most important. Always start the year off right, you must be firm. There is always room to relax. Most students crave the need for structure and order and will appreciate it in the long run.You should go over all rules and procedures, so that students know what is expected of them. Students need to feel that your room is a safe place for them. Get to know them and show them that you care. You should be interested in their activities. Also, try to put yourself in their shoes to show empathy and understanding. I know that I tend to confuse sympathy and empathy, but students are not looking for your sympathy. They need someone to listen and understand and not just feel sorry for them for their current situation. I think by following these guidelines, a new teacher can build an excellent rapport with all of their students!

                                    • Jul 27, 2017 6:43pm

                                      A successful teacher’s plan for building a balanced rapport with students should start well before the first day in class.  A general wouldn’t go into battle without a very clear strategy.  One thing is for sure, students will listen better if they trust and respect their teacher.  My stretch goal is that they like me, but the emphasis is on trust and respect.  Just like a first date or initial interview, you must remember that first impressions set the tone of the relationship with your students.  Consider sending an email to students or parents before the first meeting to communicate a glimpse of your personal and professional self.  On the first day of school, meet students at the door and ensure you shake hands with everyone.  The first handshake is a great way to get an early read on student personalities.  Lead your first day, and hopefully every day, with positive emotion.  Once the classroom routine begins, ensure you clearly explain the rules and routines of the classroom, as well as the why behind them.  Repeat and reference the rules and procedures many times during the first few weeks while consistently holding students accountable.  Consistency is the key to letting them know you are firm but fair.  Consider having your students share “good things” that have happened with the classroom or in student pair-share.  Your primary role is to deliver instruction but building a community within the classroom is an important step in building rapport between you and your students.  Leverage the events they are open to sharing to get to know the students on a more personal level, this provides great information to use as you meet with them in class or the hallway.  Finally, observe everything you can in the halls and classroom to better understand the whole student and what they are dealing with.  The more you can identify with them and show you care, the quicker the professional relationship will grow. If you sense your relationship with students is too casual, ask a trusted peer to observe and provide you a fresh perspective.

                                      • Jul 27, 2017 8:53pm

                                        Being firm from the start is very important. This shows your students that you are not there to be their best friend, but that you are ultimately in charge. I have full confidence in myself to be firm and in charge. However, one thing that I have thought about is that this summer in football, I am sometimes very sarcastic and like to joke around with the guys and I hope that they do not take that into the classroom. I will stress that to them and everyone on the first day that it is a different environment.
                                        I think that having high expectations for all students is something that students can come to love about you as a teacher. You are showing them that you care about them and that you believe in them, but at the same time, you are there to encourage them and reinforce them when they are not giving their best.

                                        • Jul 27, 2017 8:53pm

                                          Being firm from the start is very important. This shows your students that you are not there to be their best friend, but that you are ultimately in charge. I have full confidence in myself to be firm and in charge. However, one thing that I have thought about is that this summer in football, I am sometimes very sarcastic and like to joke around with the guys and I hope that they do not take that into the classroom. I will stress that to them and everyone on the first day that it is a different environment.
                                          I think that having high expectations for all students is something that students can come to love about you as a teacher. You are showing them that you care about them and that you believe in them, but at the same time, you are there to encourage them and reinforce them when they are not giving their best.