Building relationships in the classroom
by Judianne Jayme
I had the honour to recently be a panellist at the Manitoba Association of Filipino Teachers Inc. (MAFTI) and Seven Oaks Filipino Employees Association (SOFEA) collaboration Teachers’ Panel 2017. I was asked to speak about the Manitoba school culture and system. I had to think about what were the key ideas that I wanted to share for these aspiring teachers (or internationally trained teachers wanting to work in Winnipeg). This is the list that I came up with as I listened to the speakers before me. I wanted to share it with you all as well, because I feel it applies to families, their student learners, and other educators.
- Building relationships
- Student-centred learning
- Advocating for yourself
- Finding balance
Today, I’m focusing on building communities through building relationships. For this series of articles, instead of doing just Parent Tips, I’m extending this to educators as well.
Educator Tips: Communicate, communicate, communicate!
I’m going to be realistic with you. Teaching is not running through a field or forest with happy woodland creatures (no career is). We don’t play all day, and we don’t babysit either. We have a job to do, and we have to be as resilient as we expect our students to be.
Relationships are key to building a successful classroom. This means relationships with your students, their families, your colleagues, and your administrators.
Communication is key. You don’t teach in isolation – your grade team and other colleagues are here to support you. Stay humble, don’t make it a sink-or-swim situation, and ask for help. When I say, “ask for help,” I don’t mean only when you hit panic mode. If you have a good day, share some things that went well with a colleague. You don’t know how helpful this can be to someone else. Your administrators are also there to help you grow. Communicate with them regularly about what you need to be successful!
When it comes to students and their families, I’ll let a TEDTalks speak for this point. I encourage educators at any point in their career to watch the TEDTalks by Rita Pierson called Every Kid Needs a Champion. Build those relationships!
Parent Tips: Stay connected
It takes a village to raise a child. After doing a round of parent-teacher interviews (we call them tri-conferences), I noticed that parents are always asking what they can do at home to support their child’s learning. My recommendation is to communicate regularly with your child’s educators. Here are some ways this can be done:
- Direct messaging
Many educators are now using apps and web-based networks that connect to families at home. My classroom uses SeeSaw, some educators use EdModo or Edublogs, others use G-Suite for Google Classroom. These apps allow you to direct message your child’s teacher and these apps usually get updated regularly to give you a glance at the learning your child is doing.
- E-mail or phone call
These are more “traditional” ways to communicate. E-mail the teacher if his or her information has been made available, or give the school a phone call and that teacher can get back to you.
- Agendas or written notes
Many educators use some kind of agenda for homework tracking. Use this to communicate, or send a note to school with your student. This may be more challenging if your child forgets to pass forward the note.
Connect with your child’s teacher and see which type of system works best to communicate if you have questions!
On that note, if you ever have a specific topic you want me to cover regarding education, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org for your suggestions!
Best of luck, and have a great learning month.
Judianne is an educator teaching fourth grade in the Winnipeg School Division and is also a mentor for early service teachers. She works with youth through her youth empowerment project Dalagita and is beginning to provide cultural educational programming through her role in Mabuhay TV.