HPS Beginning Teacher Newsletter

September 21, 2015

C&I Focus for September: Building Teacher-Student Relationships


  • Make an effort to get to know and connect with each student in your classroom. Always call them by their names, find out information about their interests and strive to understand what they need to succeed in school (Croninger & Lee, 2001; Whitlock, 2006).
  • Make an effort to spend time individually with each student, especially those who are difficult or shy. This will help you create a more positive relationship with them (Pianta, 1999; Rudasill, Rimm-Kaufman, Justice, & Pence, 2006; Spangler Avant, Gazelle, & Faldowski, 2011).
  • Be aware of the explicit and implicit messages you are giving to your students (Pianta, et al., 2001; Rimm-Kaufman et al., 2002; Hemmeter & Conroy, 2012). Be careful to show your students that you want them to do well in school through both actions and words.
  • Create a positive climate in your classroom by focusing not only on improving your relationships with your students, but also on enhancing the relationships among your students (Charney, 2002; Donahue, Perry & Weinstein, 2003; Wentzel, 2010).

Be aware that you are modeling behavior for your students, whether intentional or not.

  • Students notice your interaction style. They notice whether you show warmth and respect toward them, to other students and to adults at your school. Often, they will model their own behavior after your behavior.
  • Students notice the methods you use to manage strong emotions. They notice positive strategies, such as taking a deep breath or talking about your frustrations. Likewise, they notice negative strategies, too, such as yelling at students or making mean or disrespectful jokes about colleagues (Jones, Bouffard, & Weissbourd, 2013). Be aware that students will often adopt the strategies that you use.


  • Don't assume that being kind and respectful to students is enough to bolster achievement. Ideal classrooms have more than a single goal: teachers hold students to appropriately high standards of academic performance and offer students an opportunity for an emotional connection to their teachers, their fellow students and the school (e.g., Gregory & Weinstein, 2004; Wentzel, 2010).
  • Don't give up too quickly on your efforts to develop positive relationships with difficult students. These students will benefit from a good teacher-student relationship as much or more than their easier-to-get-along-with peers (Baker, 2006; Birch & Ladd, 1998; Hartz & Williford, in press).
  • Don't assume that respectful and sensitive interactions are only important to elementary school students. Middle and high school students benefit from such relationships as well (Allen et al., 2013; Meece, Herman, & McCombs, 2003; Reyes, Brackett, Rivers, White, & Salovey, 2012).
  • Don't assume that relationships are inconsequential. Some research suggests that preschool children who have a lot of conflict with their teachers show increases in stress hormones when they interact with these teachers (Lisonbee et al., 2008).
  • Don't wait for negative behaviors and interactions to occur in the classroom. Instead, take a proactive stance on promoting a positive social experience by including students in discussions about prosocial interactions and consistently modeling those positive interactions for them (Jennings & Greenberg, 2009).

Adapted from: http://www.apa.org/education/k12/relationships.aspx

Stephen Covey had the right idea…’Seek first to understand as opposed to being understood.'”
James Comer says that no significant learning can occur without a significant relationship.”
George Washington Carver says all learning is understanding relationships.”
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BT District Meetings for Middle and High Beginning Teachers, Lateral Entry Teachers, and their mentors

Tuesday, Sep. 29th, 3-4pm

Hickory High School, 3rd Street Northeast, Hickory, NC, United States

BT District Meetings for Elementary Beginning Teachers, Lateral Entry Teachers and their Mentors

Tuesday, Sep. 29th, 4-5pm

1234 3rd Street Northeast

Hickory, NC

BT District Meetings for HCAM Beginning Teachers, Lateral Entry Teachers, and their mentors

Tuesday, Sep. 29th, 7:45-8:15am

409 8th Avenue Northeast

Hickory, NC

Curriculum and Instruction Department

Dr. Denise Q. Patterson- Chief Academic Officer

Mrs. Tonya B. Scott- Curriculum Coordinator

Mrs. Ginger Robertson- Administrative Assistant