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Developing Positive Classroom Relationships (excerpt from The First-Year Teacher's Survival Guide, 3rd edition)

Developing Positive Classroom Relationships (excerpt from The First-Year Teacher's Survival Guide, 3rd edition)

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An excerpt from Julia G. Thompson's "The First-Year Teacher's Survival Guide, 3rd edition." For more information or to purchase the book, visit http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-1118450280,descCd-buy.html
An excerpt from Julia G. Thompson's "The First-Year Teacher's Survival Guide, 3rd edition." For more information or to purchase the book, visit http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-1118450280,descCd-buy.html

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Published by: Jossey-Bass Education on Jul 23, 2013
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139
SECTION FIVE
A
lmost all school districts seem to deal with similar problems, such as low studentachievement, overcrowded classes, and expensive school repairs. As unpleasant asthese problems can be, very ew teachers leave the proession because o them.Instead, you are ar more likely to be aected by the stress caused by the allout rom poorclassroom relationships than by any other problem. Although classroom relationships are complex in nature, they can easily be groupedinto two dierent types: the relationships that you have with your students, and the rela-tionships that exist among your students. In this section, you will frst be able to learnsome basic strategies to help you establish positive relationships with your students. Youwill then learn how to help your students learn to relate well to each other.
Develop a Positive Relationship with Students
Many actors can negatively aect this relationship, but only you can make sure it is a  viable one. As the adult in the classroom, you are in charge o ensuring that you havea positive relationship with every student. You will have to be the one who builds thebridge, who reaches out to your students, who inspires them to do their best. A successulrelationship with your students will be just like the other meaningul relationships inyour lie; it will require patience, planning, work, and commitment.
FACILITATOR, GUIDE, COACH, LEARNING PARTNER 
One o the most exciting shits in educational philosophy in the twenty-frst century involves a change in the role that teachers play in modern classrooms. With ew exceptions,when you began your own schooling, most teachers were regarded as the “sage on thestage” who had all the knowledge and transmitted that knowledge to students.
Develop PositiveClassroom Relationships
 
140
THEFIRST-YEARTEACHER’SSURVIVALGUIDE
In today’s classrooms, however, teachers play a very dierent role—that o a “guide onthe side.” Today’s teachers are expected to help students learn by encouraging them tothink or themselves, solve problems, determine meaning based on what they already know, and be much more sel-directed than those students o the past who were expectedto be passive receptors o knowledge.Being a teacher also involves making decisions about how you want your students toperceive you. Just as actors create characters when they are at work, you’ll need to developa persona or yoursel as a teacher. I you can create a strong impression as a proessionaleducator, your school lie will be much easier. You will realize that when your studentscriticize you, they really do not know you at all. They are only reacting to your proessionalsel—a person who has to set limits and correct mistakes.When you begin thinking about the dierent ways you can create a strong image o yoursel as a teacher and develop positive relationships with your students, i you frstthink o yoursel as a acilitator, guide, coach, or learning partner, you’ll fnd that it is easerto plan how to relate well to your students. Ater all, you will no longer be expected tostand at the ront o the room and lecture; instead, you will have the opportunity to inter-act with your students as they engage in meaningul activities that you have designed tohelp them learn.
WHAT YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR STUDENTSSHOULD BE
 As a frst-year teacher, you may struggle to determine the relationship you want to havewith your students. How riendly should you be? What i your students don’t like you?What i they won’t listen to you? How strict is too strict? As a teacher, you are responsible or just about anything that can happen in a class. You will determine the relationship you have with each student as well as the relationshipyou have with the class as a whole. This is a daunting responsibility, but it is also empow-ering. I the type o relationship you have with your class is under your control, then youcan make it a strong bond. This will take deliberate planning on your part. You can useTeacher Worksheet 5.1
 
to sel-assess the appropriateness o the way you interact with yourstudents.Inspiring teachers who have a positive relationship with their students have character-istics that you should develop as quickly as possible. Here are brie descriptions o a ew o these characteristics:
•
 You should show that you care about your students.
Your students want you tolike them and to approve o them, even when they misbehave. Sometimes it is easy to lose sight o this when you have so many demands on your time. It is crucialthat your students eel that they are important to you and that you care about theirwelare. Get to know them as people as well as pupils you have to instruct. Do notbe araid to let your students know you are interested in how they think and eel.
 
 
DEVELppSITIVECLASSRmRELATISHIpS
 
141
Loveeverychild.Yourlovemaybetheonlylovesomechildrenget.Rememberthatmanyifnotmostofthechildrenyouteachbringalotofbaggagetoschoolthatwasneverevenclosetobeingapartofyourworldgrowingupandthatyoudon’tunderstand.Teachthemanyway.
Charlene Herrala, 31 years’ experience
•
 You should have a thorough knowledge of your subject matter.
Knowing yoursubject matter may not seem to have much to do with developing a successulrelationship with your students, but it does. I you are not prepared or class, youwill ocus on what you do not know instead o on what your students need to know.The worst result o a aulty or inadequate knowledge o your subject matter is thatyour students will lose respect or you and no longer trust your judgment. Be pre-pared or class each day.
•
 You should take command of the class.
I you do not assume a leadership rolein your class, others will. Oten there will be a continuing struggle as students try to dominate each other. Although you should not be overbearing, you should bein command o the class. You can and should allow your students as many optionsand as strong a voice in the class as possible, but never lose sight o your role as theclassroom leader. Your students won’t.
•
 You should act in a mature manner all of the time.
This does not mean that youcannot have un with your students; however, i having un with your studentsmeans indulging in playul insults,then you are not acting in a maturemanner. Here are a ew o the otherimmature behaviors that will destroy your relationship with your students:
•
Being sarcastic
•
Losing your temper
•
Being untruthul
•
Being unprepared or class
•
Ignoring students
•
Playing avorites
•
 You should maintain a certain emotional distancefrom your students.
Being a teacher is much more thanbeing a riend to your students; they have peers orriends. You are a teacher and not a peer. The emotionaldistance you keep between yoursel and your studentswill enable you to make choices based on what studentsneed instead o what they want.

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