Build Rapport in Your Class
It can be a rough couple of weeks when you start in a completely new classroom but building rapport with your students will benefit both you and them.
Find out about your students
On the first day of class, it’s a great idea to introduce yourself and have your students introduce themselves to you. Find out what their interests are, why they might be learning English, what they might want to do with English, and anything they have done in previous classes.
This gives you a chance to test what they already know and what they might need from you. You will learn more about their interests as time goes by, but it’s a really good idea to know a couple of things right away for interesting class activities, prizes, and topics for discussion.
Play some icebreaker games, have your students interview each other, or fill out some silly questionnaires and have fun getting to know each other!
Garner Lessons Toward Their Interests
You can better relate to your students by using topics they enjoy and understand. For instance– plan a lesson using marvel heroes, choose the most ‘heroic’ student and give them a heroic prize, or discuss which hero is your favorite and contest their favorite against yours.
Spice up old lessons or textbooks with unique challenges– teach writing by letting them write a comic book! Students also enjoy the challenge of teaching you something about their favorite thing. Take a moment to let them show you!
Let Them Have Control
Once you know what they like and you have some mutual understanding, let them have some control in the classroom! It’ll take stress off you and let them learn responsibility for their own education and actions.
Let them make the classroom rules and enforce them. Let them choose what they want to write about within given guidelines. Let them choose partners and projects. It’ll bring out their creativity, leadership, and nourish their own special interests. They will start to respect you, each other, and their work a lot more if they have some control of it.
Include Their Parents
Once they begin to express themselves, be sure to include their parents in what you, as a class, are learning about. Their parents will love to know what their children are doing in your class and if they have any special talents or did something really great that day.
It’s a great way to connect your class to their personal life in a positive way. Their parents will really appreciate knowing their child is doing well, expressing themselves, and learning a lot, and your student will then know that you are noticing them flourishing, too.
Give Them Meaningful Gifts
Let your students and their parents know that you remember your student’s interests by letting them bring home some special work they did. Write a letter to the parents about what makes their child so special.
Give your student something they can continue to work on at home that is specifically catered to a special interest they have. For instance: one of my students loves dinosaurs, (I’m sure some of your students might as well!). I told him he knew so much he could write a book.
He took me up on the offer, I decorated a small quiz book provided by the school for him and he is the youngest author in my group now!
Like any relationship, it will take a while to get to know each other. Hopefully these tips will help you along the way to get to know your students, after you build a rapport with them, seeing them flourish is one of the biggest rewards you will ever know!
Michaela left her small town in the flat cornfields of Iowa in April of 2015 to explore the world before becoming condemned to a desk in an IT corporation. She has been teaching at Hess International English school in Taipei,Taiwan and shopping, hiking, and eating her way through the foreign streets. She has traveled alone and encountered many interesting experiences and hopes to aid others traveling alone as well.