teacher-student relationships

Empty Classroom

The final day of another school year has quickly come and gone, and summer vacation is but a few hours old. The desks have been cleaned and stacked. The books have been packed away in cupboards. Student work has been taken down and handed back to kids to either take home or add to the […]

Little Conversations

Kids will not work for you unless they trust you. If they trust you, they will enjoy being in your presence. The longer they are in your presence, the easier it will be to form lasting, productive relationships. And the more genuine relationships you have in your school, the more positive your school climate will […]

Dinner for Nine: A Meal for Many

My seventh graders were in the process of researching information about Jackie Robinson in order to create an expository essay. Together, we were reading the book, 42 is Not Just a Number, by Doreen Rappaport. In the first chapter, the author writes of how Robinson’s family did not have much money when he was a […]

Cell Phone

2:55 p.m. Kids moving out of the room at one door, homeroom kids entering at the other door. Everyone talking at the same time. Everyone moving at the same time. “Can I go to the restroom?” “Can I go see the counselor?” “Can I go to the library?” And the phone rings. Sigh… I answer. […]

Louie of Winter Light

After more than three decades of working with kids from kindergarten to high school age, I have witnessed many a behavioral outburst. Occasionally, these incidents have been explosive, with a student striking out vocally and/or physically at his teacher or one of his peers in some attempt to openly rebel and assert his individual power. […]

Relationships: Hearing Them Grow

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 […]


At school, we have a new program that allows teachers to monitor students as they work online. One cool feature allows us to simply shut down a student if he is not on the assigned site for the day. It is fun watching their reactions to being instantly blocked. Another great feature allows me to […]

Ninety-five Percent


On the first day of school, Ronaldo entered my fifth grade classroom, a few hundred decibels louder than his peers. I asked him to quiet down and find the seat I had already picked out for him. He looked at me, smirked, and sat down. The boy was a restless child who had yet learned […]

The Fresh Start Journal

Whether you are a first-year teacher or one who has been in the profession a while, a new school year is always a promise of a new beginning. You are given a chance to reinvent yourself and the things you do for your students. You are given the opportunity to make a difference in the […]

Boot Camp


The social skill of the week was “Asking Permission.” My seventh graders were writing about an experience that had involved their use of this skill. The room was quiet as they filled out their index cards and as I prepared for the day’s lesson. I looked up and scanned the room. Everybody was on task. […]