Building relationships with kids takes time and commitment on both sides of the equation. A solid connection can be encouraged or fortified by a grand event – an open house evening, a “Donuts for Dad” or “Muffins for Mom” celebration, or a campus carnival – but such an event alone cannot create long and meaningful relationships. The daily interactions of teachers with their students, with ongoing discourse between the two, is the only thing that I have found to be most effective in developing and nurturing lasting connections.
Sometimes you just have to listen to each other’s stories of pain and sadness, joy and gladness, and everything in-between.
By the end of the first month of school, I know quite a bit about a child’s life just from the continuous conversation he/she and I have had. Tiny bits of information from numerous simple conversations while lining up, while turning in papers, while waiting for lunch, while passing each other on the sidewalk at the end of the day all help to bring us closer together.
All of that dialogue has informed me of the child’s family situation – parents together or separated, number of brothers and sisters, favorite subject in school, type of pets, names of school friends, fears and worries at home and at school.
I know each student’s favorite type of music, favorite football team, favorite color, favorite candy, favorite brand of shoe. I know a little bit about each child’s interests and each child’s goal for the future. All of these seemingly trivial pieces of information help me to carry on more conversations with each child and help me to further forge the bond between me and them....