Developing Rapport

Between Teacher Candidates and Students

Why Build Rapport with Students?

Tend to students' social and emotional needs:


Create an environment that is safe and engaging for all learners:


Create inclusive classroom communities:

  • Mapping Your Heart - View this video to learn about Heart Mapping, invented by Georgia Heard, as one strategy to begin building an inclusive classroom community.

Strategies to Build Rapport with Students

Building rapport with students from the beginning of a placement allows teacher candidates to make connections early and start forming relationships.


Spend time getting to know your students on an individual level:

  • Access students’ “Funds of Knowledge” via a Family Survey or Inventory, such as this one from the Learning for Justice website (formerly Teaching for Tolerance): Family Interview.
  • Talk to your cooperating teacher about the learning needs of your students and start discussing how to meet those needs.
  • Listen to your students! "Our teacher superpower - is not some mythical teacher goodness or hyperbolic self-sacrifice. Those things do not exist. Our superpower is listening" ~ Cornelius Minor. It's not just about listening with your ears, though. Watch this brief video to learn different ways teachers should be listening:
Cornelius Minor: We Got This

Maintaining Rapport Throughout the Clinical Practice Experience

Equally important as building rapport with students is maintaining that rapport. Here are some suggestions to maintain rapport throughout your placement.


Create an inclusive classroom community: Be intentional when creating and nurturing your class community:


Regularly remind students how special they are:

Additional Resources

For those who may be teaching quarantining students virtually along with your in-person students, or for those who may find themselves in a future hybrid placement, here are suggested resources to build rapport with your virtual students: