Some teachers seem to connect with their students much more easily than others and it can be difficult to work out precisely why this is the case.

Most teachers prefer well-behaved students and research has shown that educators tend to build better relationships with girls. After all, boys are more likely to be disruptive during class and it can be difficult to develop strong bonds when you are telling them off all day.

However, as this elementary school teacher’s fascinating research shows, disruptive students tend to view their relationships with their teachers in much the same way as well-behaved kids (although boys generally reported that they felt less bonded to their teachers than girls).

The reasons for these statistics are not quite clear, but they demonstrate that teachers have an opportunity to get through to kids they may not view in a particularly favorable light. They may also need to think more carefully about connecting with boys than with girls.

Ultimately, it is important to remember that your job as an educator is not simply to regurgitate facts and hope that students understand them. Rather, it is to bring out the best in individuals and spend enough time and energy to meet the needs of every student by connecting with them on a human level.

If you’d like a few tips on connecting with students and going the extra mile as a teacher, follow our helpful tips below:

1. Get to know more about their interests

Teachers often spend a good deal of time talking about themselves during class. Whilst this can help build trust with students, you need to balance things out by getting to know a thing or two about their hobbies and interests. A great way of doing this is to set up a special ice-breaker session at the beginning of the school year.

Play games that allow students to ask each other questions. This will help build friendships between students and demonstrate that you are interested in them as people. If you need a few ideas for ice-breaking games, check out this useful list.

2. Assign special projects to students based on their interests

Once you have learned something about each of your students, try to incorporate their interests into future assignments.

You could, for example, ask them to:
  • Draw up a presentation on a topic that is close to their heart
  • Get students with a particular interest in a relevant topic to teach a short session in class
  • Set up a class project and assign roles depending on individual skills and passions

Individualizing classes in this way will show that you are willing to adapt to your students’ needs and are interested in helping them build their own path in life.

3. Set up classroom discussions

Make students feel valued and respected by designating a few minutes at the end of a lesson to talk about something they feel passionate about. This could be a hot topic affecting young people or their favorite part of a course unit.

As well as helping you to bond with students, these kinds of discussions will help boost their confidence and develop their critical thinking skills.

4. Don’t be afraid to tell jokes

Try not to be too serious during lessons as this can make school feel dull and can hamper students’ creativity. Telling a joke every so often is a great way to lighten the mood – no matter how terrible the quality!

5. Remember to offer praise

It is easy to forget how valuable a little praise can be. If your students impress you, make sure to validate their efforts with some positive confirmation.

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