5 Tips to Connect With Your Students
By Danielle Provencher, Graphics & Web TFEE Student with the Hub
As a student, I’m usually a bit intimidated entering the first class of the year. Many college students want to be very successful and may be feel nervous or intimidated by the new expectations and demands of a new course. Peer pressure to be a good classmate, as well as making a good impression on the teacher are also added stressors.
For me personally – as a student – I definitely have anxiety around the expectations, demands and responsibilities of a new course. I also feel that the impression and attitudes I set between my teacher and I is very important to my learning. It’s important to me as an ambitious student to create a great professional relationship with my teacher based on respect, trust and openness to learning. If my teacher is open to this, then it creates an even greater means for learning.
We all have favorite teachers and least favorite teachers – and while it’s not about becoming someone’s favorite all-time teacher, it is important to remember the qualities you’ve really liked and impacted your education in the past. Maybe they were quirky, and let this shine through in humorous engaging lectures. Or perhaps they were serious, and this allowed you to learn some heavy topics efficiently. Whichever it is, it’s important to reflect on the qualities you resonate with: everyone has a different teaching style and that’s, quite frankly, appreciated by students!
You make a first impression in 30 seconds therefore it’s great to understand what your tone, habits and attitudes are from the get-go. Projecting the expectations of your class is very important, however so is setting the tone. If you want to exhibit that you are kind, approachable and caring then I believe it is important to set that impression from the moment they walk through the door. This is completely possible!
There are certain attitudes, teaching styles, approaches and activities that I’ve seen some teachers incorporate in the classroom throughout the year. Watch the above video where I highlight 5 top simple tips you can use right away to form an instant connection, break barriers and create a great initial experience for your students from a student perspective.
Here are some tips to connect with your students immediately:
#1. Arrive Early
John Wooden said, “being a role model is the most powerful form of educating”, an anonymous person said, “my role model didn’t tell me, he showed me”. I think role models are really powerful because they show us instead of tell us what to do. With that being said, if you arrive early you not only have more time to prepare but you set an awesome example to students on how to behave professionally. You also create a better means for connection because you have more time to connect with your students. Remember: when you’re on time you’re only breeding more respect between you & your students
#2. Be prepared and troubleshoot ahead of time
It’s known that technology can and will always go awry when you least expect it. It’s super important to set yourself up for success and troubleshoot anything from log-ins, presentations and projectors. When you prepare ahead of time and troubleshoot technology, you are not only creating a smoother class and first introduction but improve your confidence and set yourself up to create a relaxed atmosphere and happy students.
#3. Be YOURSELF but do be open and friendly
Remember: no one else is you and that is your greatest power! I really appreciate it when a teacher is personable and talks about their favorite sports team, what they did over the summer or any hobbies or interests. It breaks down the authority wall and ultimately creates a greater relaxed means to learn from. As well, remember too from the get-go that not all students will jive with your teaching style. But what’s most is appreciated is being friendly, and mostly yourself!
#4. Remember your students
As a student, this goes a really long way for me. I really appreciate it when a teacher remembers me by name. It’s true that the sound of your own name is one of the sweetest sounds – everyone loves it! If you want to go above and beyond, try to remember a few key important facts about students – you can write them down even, if you would like to.
For example, if you have a student who has a disability, your student will need you to remember their accessibility needs and wants. As well, if you have a student who plays on the Varsity team, this is an important factor to remember. Or maybe one of your students simply owns a horse or has a public speaking interest and you can incorporate their interest or skill in an activity. You never know, but remember key facts are so important. Remember: you are their gateway into the industry, building this important relationship just by remembering names will help students feel connected, build for success and help them to have a strong first step into their industry.
#5. Have fun with an icebreaker!
Icebreakers are a really great way to turn wary students into feeling comfortable with their peers and the teacher. It’s also a great way to relax the atmosphere! As well, it’s proven that icebreakers transform what could be a dull experience into a memorable experience that they will remember you from!
Think: two truths one lie, if you had a magic wand, what are your expectations of the class or even use games like Jenga. Click here to read more about different icebreakers you can use. They’re: exciting, fun, engaging, focus-building and they create positive memories!
With these tips, you will surely create more respect between you and your students, create long-lasting memories and ultimately a great connection that will set the tone for the rest of the year! Thanks for reading/watching and good luck in the future semester!