Rapport refers to the connection we create with other human beings. In education, developing rapport with our students is one of the most important parts of our job. Some of our students walk into the classroom not understanding themselves or believing in themselves. While they might not verbally say so, all of them want to be acknowledged and feel that they are special to us.
We have all have busy schedules. The expectations of a teacher are now higher than ever. How do we develop rapport with our students?
Here's a few suggestions:
1. Learn their names. This can be challenging if you have a lot of students, but no one likes to be called "hey, kid".
2. Find something the student is interested in and talk to them about it. If a football player walks into your classroom with his uniform, ask him what position does he play and how long has he been playing. Students love talking about the things they are passionate about. Don't know anything about football? That's fine. Use that as an opportunity for the student to teach you something new.
3. Talk to all students the same way. Talk to them as they are important. Albert Einstein once said,“I speak to everyone in the same way, whether he is the garbage man or the president of the university.”
4. Use every opportunity you have to make connections with students. If you have after school duty at the bus stop, find opportunities to talk to students and connect with them. Walking down the wall and see a student wearing a new style of shirt? Use that as a conversation starter.
5. Smile. It's amazing the power of a simple smile.
Students that have rapport with their teachers are more likely to share when they are in trouble or need help. They will do anything for their teacher, whether that means supporting him/her to others or staying after school and lending a helping hand. Students that have solid connections with a teacher are more likely to be successful.