Before you whip out those worksheets and start ticking off the items on your lesson plan, take a minute to check how your students are doing. Good rapport between you and your students is not only going to benefit them but also you. A lesson in which everyone feels comfortable and valued is a way to success.
Building rapport with your students can be very simple, and you don’t even need a degree in psychology!
Get to know them and show interest
First of all, get to know your students. And we’re not talking about just memorising their names. Get to know them well. What are they interested in? What do they like and dislike?
And remember it works both ways, so let them get to know you as well!
Now, that you know what your students like, show some interest. Ask them additional questions, and be enthusiastic to learn about their pottery class, a recent trip to Vienna or their dog’s training.
Usually, we note down mistakes that our students make. But today we’ll ask you to make notes on something else. Note down any important information that your students share with you: their children’s names, any pets they have, an interesting fact about their recent holiday. Note it all down and use it in the following lessons. Surprise them with a question: How did your daughter do in her exams? Is Rex feeling better now?
It’s WHAT you say and HOW you say it.
You could be saying all kinds of nice things but if your face and tone of voice aren’t conveying the message, it’s all lost. Remember to keep your tone of voice light, not too forceful. And smile! As much as you can. Be pleasant, but professional (especially if you work with corporate clients).
Praise your students often, but make it relevant to what they say. Don’t just say: well done. But be a bit more specific: Great job on learning this difficult verb!
React to what they say. Always.
this is one of the most important things in teaching. Be mindful of your students’ needs and attend to them. Whenever you can, try to put yourself in their place and check: how are they feeling? are they getting overwhelmed? should you change the topic?
And if you’re in doubt, always ask.
It’s not just a lesson
Whenever you can, arrive a few minutes early and stay on a couple of minutes extra, just to talk to your students individually (but only if they want to). Be a teacher first and foremost, but remember to be a human as well 🙂 Ask an occasional question about what they’re up to, and be interested in their life outside the classroom: So how’s your pottery class going?
And even if you forget about any of these tips, just be yourself.
Always be honest and sincere. Have you made a mistake? Don’t cover it up, admit it. Your students will thank you for that.