Student Teacher Struggling to Build Relationships

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Ms.Holyoke, Oct 3, 2017.

  1. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Comrade

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    Oct 3, 2017

    I'm doing my prepracticum now and I'm going to an 8th grade classroom once a week. It is going fine but I really haven't built any relationships wish my students. I know I only go once a week but I see the kids waving to the para, etc. and the teacher has really good relationships with the kids. I finally know most of their names and I work with them in math. But I feel like my students are less comfortable with me than my mentor. I tried to help a student today but he said he was waiting for my mentor. I feel like I don't know my students at all and it makes me worried about taking over next semester! Advice?
     
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  3. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Oct 3, 2017

    Kids this age can be slow to let you in; it's all about trust with them and, until they are positive that they can trust you, they will be reluctant to ask you for help or admit that they are struggling. Keep at it; you'll get there. With only seeing them once a week, it will take some time.
     
  4. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Comrade

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    Thanks Mrs.C; that is so reassuring!

    I'm also wondering how I can converse with kids outside of class/before class without it being awkward. I worry that I'm not the right personality to be a teacher sometimes.
     
  5. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    You see them once a week for an hour apiece. They aren't going to warm up to you until they see you more regularly. Right now, you're basically that weirdo who sits in their math class every Friday. It'll be different when you're "the teacher."
     
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  6. Milsey

    Milsey Habitué

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    Oct 3, 2017

    Right now, they don't trust you. You may be coming across as too uptight and overly critical. Have some fun, lighten the mood by doing a silly dance with one of them. Boys love when you ask them about the sports game last night.
     
  7. MetalTeacher

    MetalTeacher Companion

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    Oct 3, 2017

    It's definitely not easy to build that relationship when you're only there once a week. I never REALLY felt like I built real connections with students until my middle school practicum last spring, when I was there for all four core blocks twice a week, and regularly taught sections of the class or took over for the sub.

    But if students are working individually or in groups, wander around the room and check up on them. Show interest in what they're doing. Especially if that task has a creative or personal aspect to it; helping them with their work and taking interest in them as a person suddenly gain a lot of overlap. (I've been lucky in my high school practicum, they've been doing a lot of writing and group work so between that and going every day, I've gotten to know them pretty quickly.)

    The setup you've got isn't ideal to building a rapport with the students, but there are things you can do to help move it along.
     
  8. rpan

    rpan Comrade

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    Oct 4, 2017

    You have to let the relationship form in its own time and the students own pace - it's not something you can rush. Once a week is really not enough time at the moment. Kids at that age forget what they ate for breakfast so the minute your day with them is over they would have forgotten you exist. Plus you also kinda miss out on 4 days of their school lives so it's not the same thing as the teacher or para who is there all day every day, people they are familiar with, they know they can trust and who will be there. But when your physical presence becomes a more consistent thing then things will start to change.
     
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  9. CherryOak

    CherryOak Companion

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    Oct 4, 2017

    I remember wondering it myself ages ago, but is there really a "right personality for a teacher?" Look at how different we are on here! And this is what we get out of the teachers that self-selected to engage with an online forum. It's not that you're not charasmatic enough, etc. It's just that you are currently an unknown outsider. Roll with it and care about them anyway. It'll be great to reflect on the difference once you take over.
     
  10. rpan

    rpan Comrade

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    Oct 4, 2017

    Traits like caring, respectful, kind etc can be across all personality types and I think those are probably more important than being outgoing or funny etc.
     
  11. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Comrade

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    Oct 4, 2017

    I don't think I'm uptight or critical but I do need to talk to students about things other than school. We don't really have time to do things like dancing but I do want to get to know my students more outside of school. I did do that a bit yesterday when I was working with a small group of students alone. This was only my 4th time seeing the students so hopefully I will get to know them mor!
    Thank you for the reassurance. I do go around helping students because they need a lot of help. One thing I need to keep in mind is making sure I'm getting to all of my students over a few weeks. There are some students who I don't check in with as much mainly because they sit in the corner of the room and it's hard to get to their desks!
     
  12. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Comrade

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    That's so true! Thank you for this comment & I will definitely stick with it. In seeing other teachers this semester, I have seen so many different teachers and I'm trying to figure out what I want my teaching personality to be. There are so many things I really like about my mentor teacher (who is amazing) and some things I think I would be different about.
     
  13. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Comrade

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    I will remember this!! Thank you!
     
  14. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Don't worry too much about this right now. You only see them once a week, so like others said, it will be slow. And I don't think you need to worry about going the extra mile by trying to strike up a conversation outside of the class. That might be awkward, since you don't know them that well. I know if I was trying to do it, I would feel forced, or awkward.

    You can do other things, that build the foundation of great relationships:
    - be consistent in everything. Kids will trust that.
    - Always be in the same mood. If you are strict and somewhat serious, be that way all the time. If you're warm, and smiley, or fun and outgoing, be that way every time they see you.
    - treat them with respect and with basic courtesy. Always greet them, always say please, thank you, etc. Basic things like this will result in them liking you and at least respecting you.
    - don't be too friendly, or too lenient or be easy on school rules. They would see you as someone that's their friend, on their level or someone they don't have to obey to.
    - only strike up a conversation or make a comment if it feels natural. If you see a girl in a pretty sweater and feel like saying "that's a pretty sweater" then say it. But don't give out compliments to different kids every day, that would feel forced.

    Do these things for the time being, and everything will fall in place.
     
  15. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Comrade

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    Oct 5, 2017

    ^^

    Thanks for the advice, Linguist! I will definitely focus on treating my students with kindness and respect and also just being myself. :)
     
  16. Been There

    Been There Companion

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    Oct 5, 2017

    If you have time on the day that you go to the school, how about starting a club that meets during the lunch period? Depending on what your personal interests are, you might consider a Photography Club, Lunch Club (members have lunch with special ed. students), Science Club, etc. Perhaps the club might even be able to plan a field trip or two. When I was in junior high, my school had a before-school speaker program that featured staff members who would talk about their hobbies or personal interests (skiing, travel, etc.) - their presentations often included photographic slides and props for students to examine (skis, snowshoes, fishing equipment). Maybe you can form a club that would organize such talks. As the club advisor, this will certainly provide natural opportunities for you to connect with students.
     
  17. Belch

    Belch Rookie

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    Oct 5, 2017

    Do you mean a teacher-student relationship? If so, then that comes with time, and over the course of the years, almost irrelevent. You're time now is not supposed to be about building relationships, but rather honing your craft in a real classroom with real students. Nobody cares if you aren't developing relationships with students at this point. What you are trying to do is show that you can go into a classroom and do the job.

    Can you walk into a class full of students and be trusted to teach? Not build relationships, but be a teacher.

    I have dealt with maybe a hundred student teachers over the years, and we're not looking for you building relationships with students. We're looking for things like being able to create lesson plans, how you work within the limitations of a classroom environment, and how you deal with the inevitable problems that come about during the course of a lesson.

    Sure, it's nice that students respond favorably to you, but that's not the job.

    Have you ever watched dead poets society? What professor Keating did in his class goes against every professional ethic I can think of. At the end of the movie, he has a dead student, and probably a lot of students that aren't going to be able to enter a top level university because he failed to teach what is necessary to get them into the ivy league universities.

    But he had a great relationship with his students, for what that's worth...

    If you want to see an awesome movie teacher, watch fast times at ridgemont high. Mr. Hand is the ultimate teacher, and every teacher should really sit up and take notice of how he handles a classroom, as well as a problematic student.
     
  18. Allie Andrews

    Allie Andrews New Member

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    Oct 12, 2017

    I am also a student working in a classroom this semester! I am in a 6th grade classroom all day Monday and Wednesday and at first I thought they were slow to get used to my presence in the classroom but after a week or two they really warmed up! I did things like walking around the room before instruction began asking random questions either about their weekend, if I saw a picture of them on their binder, if they're wearing a certain team on their shirt, etc. Just simple conversations can take you such a long way! I also am always up moving around the room just to show them I'm there and I'm there to help them. I have also gone a few times to observe the students during specials like P.E. or art and some are completely different children in those settings than in the classroom, which is interesting to see and helped me get to know them. You will be fine, some kids just take longer to open up than others just keep trying, simple questions can take you along way!
     
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  19. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Comrade

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    Oct 21, 2017

    Hi everyone! I think I am doing a little bit better at forming relationships with my students. I have had some conversations with students and I am definitely more comfortable in class. It has really helped that I have learned all of my students' names. I am still trying to be authentic and I'm not really starting conversations that that I think feel awkward (which I was forced to do on the first day of school.

    One concern I have is that my teacher isn't really giving me the chance to lead the whole class, like go over a Do Now, like my classmates are getting. I asked her once and I went through it once and she gave me good feedback. But I would really like to do it regularly but I'm not sure if it is appropriate to ask. I just really want more experience in front of the class before my assignments to do lessons this semester and of course student teaching next semester.
     
  20. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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    Oct 22, 2017

    I would just ask. I think most people would enjoy the break and the chance to offer feedback.
     
  21. MetalTeacher

    MetalTeacher Companion

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    Oct 22, 2017

    In addition to what AlwaysAttend said, if your host teacher is ever out and has a sub, feel free to grab their plan and offer to run it. I did that in my 6th grade practicum multiple times and none of the substitutes ever objected in the slightest. They just hung back and assisted with behavior management when necessary and let me deliver the teacher's lesson plan.
     

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