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  • Writer's pictureLaFredrick Smith

New Year, Stronger Relationships

Yay! We have finally crossed over and made it into 2018. Some of us have already jumped back into growing brains, some of us still have a few more days of relaxing and rejuvenating, and some of us still don’t know what day of the week it is.

As we start the year, you are most likely reflecting on your previous semester. What went well? What could have been better? All of these thoughts are running through our heads and we are thinking and creating master plans on how we can be even more successful educators this semester.

One big thing I reflect on are those students who I have yet to connect with. The ones who made it hard for me to look at them each day or the ones who just wouldn’t budge despite all of my attempts to build a positive relationship with are heavy on my mind and heart. As I prepare to go back to work, I am being intentional about connecting with those students and making those relationships meaningful to lead to a more successful semester.

Rita Pierson said it best, “Kids don’t learn from people they don’t like”! I am a strong believer that until we build strong relationships with students, mend broken relationships with students, and maintain current relationships with students, true learning will not happen in the classroom. I want to share with you a few things I will be doing to build those relationships and ensure my classroom is setup for a great learning experience this semester.

#1 Postcards – I don’t know about you, but I love getting things in the mail besides bills, promotions, etc. I have sent each of my students a Happy New Year postcard that lets them know I was thinking about them and that I am excited to see their faces next week (also served as a reminder for when they need to be back). The task was easy, cheap and I didn’t even have to leave my home (

#2 First Day Back – Although instruction is important, those routines and procedures are more important. I do plan on doing some teaching the first day back, but majority of my time will be spent ensuring my students get reacquainted with the way our classroom operates. There will be lots of “Teach Like A Champion” techniques being practiced that day (Tight Transitions, 100 Percent, Sweat the Details, and my favorite, Do It Again)!

#3 Just Be Myself – The best way to connect with people is to just simple “be yourself”. Being my authentic and unique self allows me to really connect with my students, and my students of all people can quickly identify when I am being fake (I do spend most of my day with them). I believe in talking to my students, joking and laughing with them, and maybe even breaking out into a song or dance battle. I always like to remember that my students are human and they want to be comfortable around someone they spend majority of their day with, just as I would.

To dig deeper into more ways you can build positive-relationships with your students, check out my new book “Teach in the Name of Love: Building Relationships with Students”!

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tina tillmon
tina tillmon
Jan 02, 2018

Great read Mr. Smith! I too am gonna work harder on building relationships with my students! I too am gonna do lots of practice routines and a little teaching! We will complete this fun activity....let me know if you would like to do this activity also! I’m looking forward to this 2018 school year!

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