Byron's Babbles

It All Comes Back To Relationships

I’ve had the honor of spending the past two days in Florida facilitating professional development for teachers. It was so inspiring to work with teachers who were so positive and clear in their purpose for serving scholars. Interestingly, as we come back even better after the pandemic years one theme came out in every one of my sessions: relationships are the key to everything. No matter how tough things are, we have to remember that building the meaningful relationships with students is number one. We have known for a long time that the relationship with a teacher can be critically important to how well students learn. We also know these meaningful relationships are much deeper than social interactions. Great teachers engage with students around their curiosity, their interests, their habits of mind through understanding and approaching material to really be an effective teacher. Research also tells us that the teachers that form these relationships are happier and experience the true joy of teaching.

When I was teaching I actually had the personal mission statement of, “I strive to use rigor, relevance and relationships to be a steward of high student achievement.” I blogged about that in Drumming Up Relationships. We must learn our students and connect with them on a real level, showing respect for their culture and affirming their worthiness to receive the best education possible. Our relationships with students matter more than we might ever know. Our abilities to show empathy and compassion are crucial. We must also continually hone our skills at practicing perspective-taking: actively imagining how a student might perceive or be affected by a situation. This can help us reduce bias and deepen our relationships with students. With deeper relationships comes trust, and with trust comes more engagement in learning.

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