One of my favourite Ted Talks is from Rita Pierson Every kid needs a Champion. I cry everytime I watch the talk. She speaks about relationships in the classroom and how important those relationships are to learning. I agree with her. Kids want to come to school when they have good relationships with teachers and classmates. The opposite is also true, when the relationships are bad, kids don’t attend. Learning takes place because of relationships.
I think that is the most important thing in any relationship is trust. Students need to trust you first and foremost. The key I believe to building trust is to keep your word, be accountable and have your students back. I believe if you tell your students you are going to do something, you need to do it every time. If I tell my students, I will give them time to do a special project, then we do it, the time is not held up as reward if it is already been promised without conditions. I am accountable to my students, if I tell them I will have papers marked or as a class we will do something, then I need to have those things done. If I don’t then I need to tell my class and apologize, then fix it. Finally and maybe the most crucial element to building trust is that I have my student’s back. When they are being bullied I do everything I can to stop it. When they are struggling we look at ways to fix it/make it better together. I can’t always fix everything or see everything but I can attend to the matters that have come to my attention. When students can trust you they are more likely to come to you with problems and mistakes, and missed assignments. Trust doesn’t mean students are not held accountable, it means you work together to find a solution. Trust means they come to you for help whether it is for big things or little things.
With trust comes respect and kindness. When there is trust students respect you, themselves and others. When there is trust and respect, kindness happens. When there is trust ,respect and kindness your classroom becomes a safer space, were learning happens and relationships flourish. When the teacher models and trusts the students, the students are set up for success and take pride in themselves and their work. Trust allows mistakes to happen, which is essential for learning.
I want my student to feel safe to make mistakes,feel safe to be in our classroom space, and to trust me enough to know that we can work out problems and we move on. A classroom based on a mutual trust is the best learning space in my opinion.