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Classroom Management: Intentionally Building Relationships

Merriam Webster defines a relationship as the way in which two or more people, groups, countries, etc., talk to, behave toward, and deal with each other. So, when 2 people are interested in the possibility of entering into a relationship with one another, they ask questions and behave in a manner that will hopefully yield a healthy relationship.

All relationships whether they be friendship, professional, or a romantic relationships require every action to be purposeful by the people that are invested in the relationship. In order for a relationship between 2 people or a group of people to thrive, all parties must work towards laying the foundation for a successful relationship. Teachers can apply this idea of relationship building to their classroom management plans.

No significant learning can occur without a significant relationship.
James Comer

As you’re reading this blog post you’re probably thinking, “Why does building relationships need to be a part of my classroom management plan?” I think James Comer said it best, ” No significant learning can occur without a significant relationship.” In simpler language if children cannot connect with a teacher then minimal academic gains will be made. Most importantly, classroom management is the foundation for all instruction, without it learning will not and cannot take place.

As the new school year approaches I get really excited because I look forward to meeting my new group of students. In addition to preparing for the new school year, on the first day of of school my  task at hand is to begin the process of getting to know who each one of my students. No, it’s not the “superficial” get to know my students with interest inventories (not that those are bad) I begin my intentional conversations with them. While the students are settling in and adjusting to their new grade level and new classmates I begin to connect with my students through casual conversation about 4 things:

  1. School history- How many schools has the student attended and has the student ever been retained?
  2. Parents- Do the live with their parents? Are both parents in the household? Is there a step-parent?
  3. Interest- Do they play sports? Do they have any hobbies?
  4. Academics- What are their favorite classes? Who are their favorite teachers? Who were their favorite teachers from previous grade levels? Where are their academic strengths?

As a result of intentionally building relationships with my students I have avoided many of the pitfalls that most teachers encounter when dealing with difficult students. I have learned that everything that I know about a student can be used to help me effectively manage that student so that active learning can occur.

[bctt tweet=”No significant learning can occur without a significant relationship – James Comer” via=”no”]

When teachers are strategic and intentional with the method in which they build relationships with their students, it can have an enormous impact on their classroom management. Which will in turn, lead to significant academic gains and a smooth sailing school year!


2 thoughts on “Classroom Management: Intentionally Building Relationships”

  1. Della Faulkner

    I was asked to put the following in order of importance: rigor, relevance, and relationship. I think relationship is the most important of the three. As teachers we are like salesman. We are “selling education” to the students there to learn. Our rapport with our students determines whether or not our students will receive our instruction. Building relationships increases the self-esteem of the students and their confidence in their teacher. Even if the teacher might not be the “best” in the world, those students will respect him or her because they took the time to get to know them.

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I help math teachers who teach high need students to effectively manage their classrooms and deliver high quality math instruction. Learn more about me


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