Posted on Augst 1, 2019 by Marcus Jackson

A mentor of mine, Dr. Chike Akua, states that rules without a relationship equals rebellion. In a day and age of accountability we’ve become programmed to immediately begin at the cognitive domain when working with students.  We’ve minimized students to percentages and points as opposed to people. However, highly effective teachers begin at the affective domain. They establish positive relationships with their students. They recognize that before any high academic achievement can be obtained, social and emotional needs must be met first.

Here are 10 ways to build a positive relationship with your students:

#1 Genuinely love kids

Children can read adults the first time they meet and decipher if they genuinely not only care but love them. If you don’t genuinely love working with children, reading 2-10 will have 0 impact on you.

#2 Remove all biases and stereotypes

It’s a new year with new challenges and possibilities. Remove your biases (we all have them) and stereotypes. They’ll become a barrier to not only developing relationships but learning if not removed.

#3 Love them in spite of

Love your students in spite of their imperfections, in spite of their deficiencies, in spite of their social emotional issues, and in spite of their flaws. They are far from perfect and so are you.

#4 Greet them with a smile every day

Many of our students deserve the Nobel Peace Prize just for showing up to school due to the trauma they’re experiencing outside of school. Greet them with a smile every day, it’ll make their day.

#5 Recognize their uniqueness, culture, and view of the world

Every child has a unique gift from God. As a facilitator of learning, help them to discover it, continuously mention it, and remind them of it. This helps to build their self-esteem. Additionally, it’s imperative that you’re knowledgeable of their culture and understand how they view the world.

#6 Do something funny! Make them laugh!

Laughter is good for the soul and is necessary in any positive relationship. Try to laugh with your students every day. A knock knock joke still works. They’ll laugh, even if it’s not funny.

#7 Believe in them

Have a belief mind set. Teach them that the impossible is possible. Meet them where they are academically, socially, and emotionally. Believe they will be successful and watch them grow.

#8 Ensure they have a victory every day and celebrate the first downs

Every child should experience multiple successes every day at school. Unfortunately, the only one we look for is connected to a standard or an objective. These are the touchdowns. It is equally important to look for and celebrate the efforts, acts of kindness, politeness, and small improvements. These are the first downs.

#9 Connect the content to real life scenarios and their endeavors

Every day in each content area a child will ask, “Why do I need to learn this?” Answer this question before it is asked. I remember one of my 7th grade students was a mechanic but hated math and science. However, when I told him his tools were fractions and explained the scientific breakdown of antifreeze and brake fluid, he immediately connected to the content and soared!

#10 Forgive every mistake and set the reset button every day

When I became an educator, my mom said something I’ll never forget. She said, “When you’re working with children, remember you’re working with children.” This meant that children will simply be children. They will make plenty of mistakes, test your patience, and at times get on your last nerve. However, at the end of the day, forgive them for any mistakes made, press the reset button, and begin each day as if it’s the first day of school.

© Marcus Jackson, Ed.D