Fostering a Wellness-Centered Classroom

5 Ways Teachers Can Build Strong Relationships with their Students

Teachers have the amazing ability to connect with students in unique ways because they are on the frontlines, interacting and engaging with them everyday. Because of this, building the teacher-student relationship is critically important in helping kids to be successful—academically and socially.

‍Research across the fields of sociology, psychology, and communications shows that students are motivated, engaged, and have higher achievement when they have supportive classroom climates anchored by positive relationships with their teacher. - Feldman

The Daybreak clinical team has compiled some tips on how teachers can build strong relationships, develop rapport, create connections, and help kids to reduce their stress. They also allow teachers to assess for changes in a student’s behavior and address educational and social-emotional hurdles. 

5 Ways to Build Strong Relationships with your Students 

‍1. Demonstrate sincere interest 

It’s important to acknowledge that students have lives beyond the classroom. Developing rapport with students can go a long way in building trust and confidence with them. 

By simply asking a student about what interests them can directly impact their learning, communication, and motivation. Here’s a free, personalized student tracker that allows you to easily track details about students' lives and questions you can use to prompt meaningful conversations with them.

‍2. Show you care

‍Once you know what’s important to them, show that you care about their lives. Attend their games, performances, or other activities. Know their birthdays. This extra effort will help to build a greater sense of community in your classroom. 

‍3. Enable 1:1 Check-Ins

Research shows that students perform better when they have a good relationship with their teachers. By having one-on-one conferences or meetings scheduled with each student, it provides the opportunity to interact with them in a way that students feel heard. And, it allows for teachers to better understand a student's understanding of the material that’s being taught in class without the risk of a student feeling embarrassed in a larger group setting. 

4. Facilitate icebreakers

It’s important for students to feel comfortable in your classroom—and with one another. Ideally teachers could facilitate ice breakers regularly—not just at the beginning of the school year—to maintain a sense of community. Here are some great icebreaker ideas for middle and high school students. There are some good ones here, too…you can never have enough!

‍5. Take action when something seems off 

Teachers should always be on the lookout for signs of something being “off” with their students. This could include physical, behavioral, psychological, or other acute issues. Some questions you might ask yourself include: Are they participating in classes? How are they engaging with their peers? Are they failing courses or excelling academically? Are they attending class on a consistent basis? Have there been any significant changes in behavior? If you notice that something isn’t right, it’s important to reach out to your administrators, site counselors, or mental health therapists  to ensure that the student is getting the mental health care they need.

Downloadable Content

The State of Youth Mental Health & Our Schools

How schools are responding to the rising demand for student mental health services.