Demonstrate a variety of strategies to develop rapport with all students – Element 5
September 19, 2012 § Leave a comment
Building rapport with students is an element of teaching that requires time. Being a young teacher does not automatically grant you an edge of coolness and approachability that the students will instantly take up after the first week of classes. Within my first couple of weeks of teaching, I always ensured that I maintained an approachable manner and brought an upbeat aura of motivation to class every day. However, just because I brought along energy, did not necessarily mean that students would catch on to it either.
After a couple of disappointing attempts to entice and provoke class discussion and debate, I quickly realised that I needed more than just a positive attitude to win over the students. What I needed was to develop rapport with every student. My strategies to do so varied completely on a daily basis and for different year groups.
Being at an all girl’s high school, I mistakenly (however unsurprisingly) discovered that the girls absolutely loved fashion, music and dance. These were small but significant aspects became a strategic weapon in which I used to build rapport with my students. My professional attire was carefully selected the night before my history classes, deliberately correlating it to the fashion of the 1960s during our decade study. Every class, I would walk in and allow the girls to identify how my outfit resembled the 60s and elaborate on why it was significant at the time. After deconstructing my outfit, more students began to participate in class which evidenced to me that this strategy was successful.
Music and dance are other key elements that the students not only loved, but also what the school celebrated. Thankfully, these art forms are also treasured dearly by myself, making it easy to formulate conversations with some students. For many nights, I thought tirelessly on how I can implement these art forms into my class content without getting the students too side tracked. Instead, I moved beyond the classroom to celebrate these art forms within the school community. During school events such as Mary Mackillop Day and Year 10 Reflection Day, opportunities arose for teachers and students to showcase their dance and music skills in good spirit. My participation in this was not only to build rapport with students, but to have fun. Inevitably, it did build rapport with my students and students of the wider school community. Students began to recognise me and it provided them an initial point of conversation.
Although these two examples may seem quite insignificant in effort, they were the most visually evident strategies that helped me build rapport with students.