How do you build a rapport as a substitute teacher?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by zmp2018, Dec 28, 2018.

  1. zmp2018

    zmp2018 Rookie

    Feb 12, 2018
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    Dec 28, 2018

    I have subbed twice at the same school right before Christmas break. After the break, I will be subbing regularly at that school and others.

    One of the hardest things I’ve encountered so far is the lack of rapport with the students. They don’t know me; I don’t know them. This can make classroom management 10x harder.

    What are some tips/tricks to build a rapport quickly with the students? Is it possible? I feel that some classes are just going to be difficult no matter what I do.
    Leaborb192 likes this.
  3. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

    Oct 25, 2005
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    Dec 28, 2018

    I found that the more I was at the school, the better it was. Once the kids realized that I was going to be around regularly, they were more well-behaved and I got to know them better.
    otterpop and Ms.Holyoke like this.
  4. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

    Feb 4, 2010
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    Dec 28, 2018

    Here are the things I'e learned over the years:
    1. don't force it. It won't happen over night, it will gradually build up over months ad months
    2. not having any rapport with students is actually better than someone trying to force it, students will see them as fake, and will not connect
    3. you can do little things, like compliment them on something, or ask questions. Again, be natural. I think a female complimenting a girl on her hair or nails is great, a male doing it - just don't. Someone into sports makes a comment about last nights game is great, someone like me, who could care less - just don't. It's not natural.
    4. While you're teaching (meaning being on topic, not chitchatting during recess) look for opportunities to offer your opinion on something or share something personal. Be careful not to be biased (for example politic or religion, etc) and don't make it too personal, nothing you don't feel comfortable with. I loved opening up to my students, of course this wasn't on the first day, but I did share stories of being humiliated by a boy who I had a crush on and how I reacted to it, how I overcame obstacles, great things I achieved or struggles I dealt with. It was all true, nothing was made up. Students loved to hear my stories because it made me more human, approachable and to a point vulnerable. Again, I did this when it felt right.
    5. don't expect students to respond or open up just because you want them to. You have to earn their respect and trust first.
    6. you won't be able to build rapport with all students. If you feel that you were able to reach 30 % of the kids by the end of the year, you should feel good. This of course depends on the age, student population and all sorts of factors.

    Something I've learned this year: I'm an independent studies teacher now. I have 1 hour to spend / week with each student, of course they may come more often than that. This time is spent by assigning new work, going over handed in work or possibly talking to the student or just having them start their work.
    I wasn't sure how to go about this, because students won't just start talking to me about their personal lives, no matter how hard i try. So I didn't. In time I started asking them why they chose independent studies and what they were doing during the week. I was honestly curious. other than that I didn't pry. There are still about 10 students who I don't really have conversations with, because they don't seem to want to talk about anything they come in, had in all their work perfectly done, I go over the new work, then they sit there and work. But there are a lot of students whom I really got to know well and we talk a lot.
    How did i do it? I realized that they may not want to just tell me about their personal lives, but they will listen to mine. Often I just talk about what I do on the weekend (camping, hunting) or the places I traveled to, other times whatever comes up. And then these students slowly opened up because i gained their trust.
  5. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

    Jul 19, 2014
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    Dec 30, 2018

    Good suggestions above. My answer would be "with time and consistency". Do a good job, keep them learning in your classroom, and soon you will be a teacher, not just a sub. Makes all the difference. A sense of humor never hurts, either. Doesn't have to be jokes, but know when things aren't life and death. It can diffuse moments that could easily escalate into problems - just a personal observation. I work with a teacher aide who has a way of making mountains out of molehills. I hate to come back in the room to that.
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2018
  6. Milsey

    Milsey Habitué

    Nov 14, 2009
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    Dec 30, 2018

    I would compliment them on their hairdos, ell them amusing anecdotes, make witty remarks, em someone left her brain at home today, my daughter's battle with weight gain, my mom's recent cancer scare etc.
  7. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

    May 14, 2012
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    Dec 30, 2018

    I had the same experience. I would recommend accepting jobs at the same school as much as possible.
  8. RussianBlueMommy

    RussianBlueMommy Comrade

    Apr 15, 2016
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    Jan 11, 2019

    Time and patience. Be consistent. Before I was offered the position of a building (perm/full-time) sub, that is how I made myself known. This will be almost my 4th year- and I have a job daily. Be sure to introduce yourself to the teachers as well when you are already on campus doing a different teacher. I also leave a form I created that details absences and issues I may have had, along with my contact info.
  9. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

    Jun 18, 2016
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    Jan 18, 2019

    Last edited: Feb 3, 2019

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