June 1st, 2020

Starting off with building relationships

It is going to be crucial to begin the school year with relationship building - between teachers and students and students to students and families to teachers. Setting up individual appointments for teachers to get to know their students and families prior to the beginning of the school year face-to-face so that teachers can explain expectations, understand the situations occurring in the home around distance learnings and getting to know students on a personal level.

After all appointments are held, teachers can then work virtually in small groups to build a sense of community before moving onto to combining small groups into larger groups and ultimately the large classroom.

I do understand the challenge that teachers might have in the secondary level and starting with home rooms or period 1 would be a small step in getting to know one another.

Build relationships and connections before academics may allow students to ease into the school year.

Without these relationships, student engagement will be significantly limited and teachers will spend the entire semester trying to encourage students to engage. If the home situation is not understood, the expectations of the teachers may not be fully realized.

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Comments (3)

Comments (3)

Hi Cathy:
Are you suggesting that this one-on-one connection happen before school starts in the fall? How do you envision that working? Would it be via some video chat like Zoom, now that most teachers and students learned to use some form of that technology during distance learning?

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Relationships are so important! Another strategy is to invite students to answer a notecard, "what I wish my teacher knew" at the beginning of the school year. It begins the dialogue and illustrates how much teachers care.

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One idea I employed to keep families engaged with their child's school experiences (which worked to varying degrees, depending on parents' involvement and, more critically, their bandwidth) was to send home homework with my students that related some part of current subject matter to something that had 'real life' significance for each family. Students need that 'all important' sense of belonging ... so, too, do parents and extended family. Of course, assignments should not be too time-consuming, and they should be culturally respectful, even have a fun-factor. If these kinds of exercises are provided, once every few weeks, consistently, people are gently drawn in.

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