Effective Teachers Build Good Relationships

The important first step to being an effective teacher, especially with children, is to cultivate a good relationship with them.  That goes for preschool children, too.

Any good relationship is built on trust, respect, and kindness, no matter what the ages of the people involved are.  Why is it so important for teachers to have a good relationship with their students? Because these are the teachers who are able to exert a more positive effect.  The children respond better to such teachers and their lessons, learn better, and behave better.  

It’s not just the children who benefit, however.  These teachers derive extra satisfaction from their jobs, enjoy the children more, like and value themselves to a greater degree, and increase their self-esteem.

You’re probably already using many effective strategies to build up a good relationship with your students, but maybe some of the following will be productive additions.

1.  Learn each child’s name quickly and greet everyone by name as he or she enters the room each day.

2.  Tell children how much you missed them when they’ve been out of school for one or more days. 

3.  Have conversations with each of the children, listening attentively to what they’re saying and validating their feelings and ideas.  This is especially important if they seem to be having a problem.

4.  Give them plenty of encouragement and praise, not just for results but also for their progress and effort.

5.  Give them choices, when possible, of what they would prefer doing at a given time, e.g., “Would you rather paint or play with building blocks?” 

6.  Encourage the children to share information about themselves. For example, ask them to bring in photos of their family to talk about with you and their classmates. Or they can put together a book about themselves to talk about at circle time. 

7.  Ask them to bring in their favorite book which you then read to the class.

8.  Tell a child how pleased you are if he/she is having a good day.  If the child is having a difficult day, see whether you can find out what the problem is and tell him or her that you think tomorrow will be much better.

The important thing here is to make the children feel important and appreciated. By using these simple strategies plus many other similar ones that you may already be using, you do just that and that’s hard for any child to resist.  An adult who gives this gift to a child will certainly be loved.