Zach Long speaks with Hayley Klees about why it is so important to build positive relationships with your students on the More Than Teachers Movement podcast. If you missed this episode of the podcast, you can listen here. Or, continue reading to hear what they talked about.
Who Is Hayley Klees?
Even though her degree is in elementary education, Hayley Klees has been a 6th grade ELA and reading teacher for the majority of her 8 years in the classroom. She loves teaching at the 6th grade level though because it gives her the opportunity to be involved with extracurricular activities. Outside of the classroom, she coaches volleyball (her first love- she played in college!), basketball, track, and soccer. Hayley is also a wife and mother, so she understands how delicate the work-life balance can be.
Why It’s Important to Build Positive Relationships With Your Students
According to Hayley, there are two main reasons why you should strive to build positive relationships with your students. The first is that taking the time to build those important connections outside the classroom pays off big inside the classroom. Hayley explains, “So for me, it’s been super beneficial because while it’s built those relationships outside of the classroom, it also brings it back into the classroom. So that when I do ask students to read a nonfiction passage about a not so interesting topic, they’ll trust me as their teacher and actually put forth the effort into reading it.”
The second reason why it’s important to build those positive relationships with your students is that it will make teaching more enjoyable and less stressful. Hayley adds, “Just knowing that when you have the correct mindset of wanting to build this relationship with your students, it’s going to help you as a teacher. Not only is it going to help you create that relationship, but it’s going to bring less stress to you. You’ll actually enjoy being in the classroom with those students. You’ll become a happier person.”
How to Build Positive Relationships With Your Students
Outside of the classroom, Hayley recommends getting involved in extracurricular activities like sports or clubs to build positive relationships. Obviously, Haley went the sports route, but there are often many clubs that need sponsors, too. Also, she recognizes that not everyone has the availability to coach a sport. In these cases, Haley recommends something low-commitment such as attending a band concert.
There are also plenty of things that can be done inside the classroom that will build and strengthen your relationships with students. For instance, Hayley suggests sharing information and stories about yourself, so that students get to know and see you as a person. She shares, “I always do this thing at the beginning of the year where I share a PowerPoint that I’ve created with my students. And it’s not very long, like it’s maybe seven, eight quick slides, but it has some pictures. I just give some quick little bullet points about my favorite foods, my favorite color. I show them pictures of my husband and my son and things I like to do. So then that way, they realize I’m a normal person, just like them. And it kind of humanizes us right there at the beginning of the school year so that they can start to build that know, like, and trust factor right off the bat.”
Hayley says it best, “I love the title of this podcast because we are more than teachers. You know, we are real human beings that have other desires and have other things that we want to pursue and we do have real emotions. And so when you can line those together and just find that joy and happiness again, it just really helps bring it full circle to be able to be a happier person in general, not just a teacher.”
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