- Establishing a connection between the students and the teacher enhances the teaching-learning process.
- The teacher can adopt various strategies to make the students feel that he/she is also one among them.
- The teacher also needs to be aware and alert to ensure that “friendliness” does not hinder the teaching-learning process.
As a teacher, we need to maintain a good relationship with the students. Every student has their own unique lifestyles and skills. However, once they are inside a classroom, all of them come under one umbrella–that of the student. Yet, they are the kings and queens of their own worlds. Of course, we the teachers have also passed through that phase during our childhood. But, we are grown-ups now. Therefore, we need to understand the world of the students. Once we do that, we will find that we can easily mingle with them. And, if this is possible, we will be able to provide the students what they need. In return, our expectations pertaining to the students will be met as well. In light of this, I decided to use some keys to unlock and enter the fascinating world of the students.
In fact, we already involve ourselves with the students in school in many different ways, such as through playing, speaking, or engaging with them in some other activities. This might lead us to assume that the students do not fear us and consider us to be friendly. However, in reality, there always exists a gap between us and the students. Hence, it is up to us to create a belief amongst the students that we are also one among them—a classmate and a friend.
In my class of seven students, there was one boy who used to be terrified of me. I always tried to convince him that I was a friend of his, and there was no reason for him to be afraid of me. He was the one of the main reasons why I decided to devise some activities that would make me a part of the world of my students.
The first change that I incorporated in this regard is that I increased the total number of students, which was written on the board, by one; i.e. I wrote the strength of my class as 8, whereas it was actually 7. Upon noticing this for the first time, the students started to murmur amongst themselves before asking me why I had done so. I just answered that, from then on, our class strength would be 8. Later, when the attendance was taken, I called out my name as well at the very end. I myself responded that I was present to my name being called. It was at that point that my students understood why I had changed the total number of students to 8—They realized that I was including myself as a student as well instead of a teacher.
In the coming days, I handed over the attendance register to the students for them to mark the attendance. This small step gave them the feeling that they were also the class teacher. It was an activity that brought them closer to me.
It was an unwritten rule in our classes for the students to seek permission from the teacher whenever a student wanted to drink water or go to the restroom. I decided that the same rule would apply to me as well. If I had to drink water or go outside, I would ask for the permission of the class. Even when the headmaster called me to her office, I would first take the permission from my students before leaving the class.
Just like the students, I too did projects, homework, maintained a classwork note, and so on. I would share my snacks with the students, and they would, in turn, share theirs with me. Whatever eatables one brought, it would be divided into eight parts and shared amongst us equally.
It was these little acts that made the students accept me as their classmate. They would sometimes quip that they had one student and seven teachers in their class—the student being me. Once this friendly atmosphere was established in the classroom, it was easy for me to take care of the academic needs of my students as well.
This approach particularly helped me in bringing that one terrified boy closer to me. Gradually, his fear of me disappeared, and he joined the other students in mingling with me.
Perhaps, one challenge that a teacher might face while adopting this method is that the students may become too friendly with them to the point that the teaching-learning process is disrupted. I would like to point out that it all depends on us, the teachers. If learning does not take place in our class, then we should be aware of it. We can change this kind of a situation by altering our methods. For example, if the students want to play games, we have to devise games that would simultaneously incorporate learning as well. We need to be prepared for such situations and be ready with such games. If that happens, even the students who are usually not attentive in class would be interested and focused during such activities. Thus, we teachers should always be alert and adopt strategies and methods that will be suited to the need of the class at each point of time.
To conclude, being teachers, it is vital for us to establish a good connection with our students. It is a prerequisite for enabling a smooth teaching-learning process.
Teacher: R. Rajesh, GPS, Sivaranthagampet