Trust is the foundation of any relationship, and it's one of the most important things for a teacher to develop with their students. Here's how to build trust with students and create a healthy classroom environment for learning.
1. Talk about Trust
Establishing trust should start the moment your students enter the classroom. Lead a conversation with your class about how trust is important in all relationships as well as in learning. Have them share examples of how teachers and students can earn and demonstrate trust in the classroom. This will set the tone for healthy classroom relationships throughout the year.
2. Give Students Responsibilities
Give your students responsibilities and trust that they will complete the tasks you set for them. If you see that a student hasn't completed their job, don't leap in and do it for them. When you do this, you're showing them that you don't trust that they can do it on their own.
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Instead, be patient and give them some time. Classroom jobs are a great way to give young students responsibility. For older students, being more involved in projects like planning and organizing a field day or class party will show them that you trust them to do the necessary work.
3. Develop a Classroom Atmosphere of Trust
Many young students are naturally trusting, but as they get older, they start to question adults' trustworthiness. This is why it's essential that we develop classroom communities that are built on trust. This means your classroom should be a place where everyone is respected and transparent in their communication.
Simply delivering exceptional instruction can develop trust. Make the most of your students' time and efforts by giving them challenging and worthwhile learning activities. Having a morning meeting is another great way to build a trusting classroom environment. This is a time when students can be open and honest with their feelings without feeling judged by their peers.
4. Be Tolerant
Be considerate of the negative experiences that may have affected a student's ability to trust you. You may encounter students who haven't experienced trust in their own lives. If a student has learned not to trust any adults at home, they will have no reason to trust a teacher at first. Be patient and take the time to get to know your students before you dismiss them as being incapable of trust. After all, you never know what they may be going through at home.
5. Be Consistent
Your students will not trust you if you aren't consistent. When I first became a student teacher, I wasn't consistent and constantly went back on my word. The students didn't trust me because they recognized this inconsistency. I didn't even realize I was doing this until my mentor teacher pointed it out.
Once I realized what I was doing, I made an effort to become more consistent. Within a few weeks, I began earning back the students' trust. All I had to do was follow through with what I said. If you consistently follow through on your word, then your word will have value, and your students will trust you.
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Building trust within the classroom is essential for your students' success. Once you learn how to build trust with students, you'll find that your classroom is a happier, more productive place.