Strategies for Building Rapport With Students

a teacher with a student
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For teachers, building rapport with students is a component that takes teaching to the next level. Teachers understand that this takes time. Building rapport is a process. It often takes weeks and even months to establish a healthy student-teacher relationship. Teachers will tell you that once you have earned the trust and respect of your students, everything else becomes much easier. When students look forward to coming to your class, you look forward to coming to work each day.

Strategies to Build Rapport With Students

There are many different strategies through which rapport can be built and maintained. The best teachers are adept at incorporating strategies throughout the year so that a healthy relationship is established, then maintained with each student that they teach.

  1. Send students a postcard before school begins letting them know how much you are looking forward to having them in class.
  2. Incorporate personal stories and experiences within your lessons. It humanizes you as a teacher and makes your lessons more interesting.
  3. When a student is sick or misses school, personally call or text the student or their parents to check on them.
  4. Utilize humor in your classroom. Do not be afraid to laugh at yourself or the mistakes that you make.
  5. Depending on the age and sex of the student, dismiss students with a hug, handshake, or fist bump every day.
  6. Be enthusiastic about your job and the curriculum you teach. Enthusiasm breeds enthusiasm. Students will not buy in if a teacher is not enthusiastic.
  7. Support your students in their extra-curricular endeavors. Attend athletic events, debate meets, band competitions, plays, etc.
  8. Go the extra mile for those students who need help. Volunteer your time to tutor them or hook them up with someone who can give them the extra assistance they need.
  9. Conduct a student interest survey and then find ways to incorporate their interests into your lessons throughout the year.
  10. Provide your students with a structured learning environment. Establish procedures and expectations on day one and enforce them consistently throughout the year.
  11. Talk to your students about their individual strengths and weaknesses. Teach them to set goals. Provide them with the strategies and tools necessary to reach those goals and improve on their weaknesses.
  12. Ensure that each student believes that they are important to you and that they matter to you.
  13. From time to time, write students a personal note encouraging them to work hard and embrace their strengths.
  14. Have high expectations for all of your students and teach them to have higher expectations for themselves.
  15. Be fair and consistent when it comes to student discipline. Students will remember how you handled previous situations.
  16. Eat breakfast and lunch in the cafeteria surrounded by your students. Some of the greatest opportunities for building rapport present themselves outside the classroom.
  17. Celebrate student successes and let them know you care when they falter or are facing difficult personal situations.
  18. Create engaging, fast-paced lessons that grab every student’s attention and keep them coming back for more.
  19. Smile. Smile often. Laugh. Laugh often.
  20. Do not dismiss a student or their suggestions or ideas for any reason. Hear them out. Listen to them intently. There may be some validity to what they have to say.
  21. Talk to your students regularly about the progress they are making in class. Let them know where they stand academically and provide them with a path for improvement if needed.
  22. Admit and own up to your mistakes. You will make mistakes and students will be looking to see how you handle things when you do.
  23. Take advantage of teachable moments even when on occasion this ventures far away from the actual topic of the day. The opportunities will often have more of an impact on your students than the lesson.
  24. Never demean or berate a student in front of their peers. Address them individually in the hall or immediately after class.
  25. Engage in casual conversation with students in between classes, before school, after school, etc. Simply ask them how things are going or inquire about certain hobbies, interests, or events.
  26. Give your students a voice in your class. Allow them to make decisions on expectations, procedures, classroom activities, and assignments when it is appropriate.
  27. Build relationships with the parents of your students. When you have a good rapport with the parents, you typically have a good rapport with their children.
  28. Make home visits from time to time. It will provide you with a unique snapshot into their lives, possibly giving you a different perspective, and it will help them see that you are willing to go the extra mile.
  29. Make every day unpredictable and exciting. Creating this type of environment will keep students wanting to come to class. Having a room full of students who want to be there is half the battle.
  30. When you see students in public, be personable with them. Ask them how they are doing and engage in casual conversation.
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Your Citation
Meador, Derrick. "Strategies for Building Rapport With Students." ThoughtCo, Apr. 5, 2023, Meador, Derrick. (2023, April 5). Strategies for Building Rapport With Students. Retrieved from Meador, Derrick. "Strategies for Building Rapport With Students." ThoughtCo. (accessed May 30, 2023).