heart4One of the things I love about the first part of the school year is getting to know my students. With each new class, I get to meet a whole new group of individual children with their individual and interesting personalities. This is truly one of the rewards of teaching. Along with getting to know my students, I also always try and spend some time at the beginning of the school year making connections with each of them. Depending on the size of my classes this can be a challenge, but it is one well-worth undertaking as it can reap valuable rewards. Here are some of the ways I make connections with my students:

  • I look them in the eye when I talk to them.
  • I smile when I talk to them.
  • I take the time for humor in class, and I laugh with my students.
  • I listen to them. I can especially glean important insights about my students by listening to the things they say to each other—this can tell you a lot about a child’s personality.
  • Occasionally, I like to allow for unstructured time in class and then pay attention to the roles that students take and the things they do and say.
  • I ask them about their families, their pets, and what they like to do.

Some of this can be done within the context of your Spanish lesson. Some of it can only be done before and after class and during transition times. When you make connections with your students, you form a relationship with them. When you do that, you are on better footing for addressing their learning styles, their needs, and their challenges. You also put yourself in a good position for parent communication. The rewards you get are better outcomes in student learning and better outcomes in classroom management. Take time to make connections with your students—it’s well worth it.