For any seasoned teacher, they will tell you that building a community within your classroom will help not only with discipline but also with achievement since students who feel comfortable and engaged in a classroom will be more successful. Here are some tips for helping build rapport and community within your classroom:
Spend some time at the beginning of the year getting to know your students. I know this seems like a no brainer, but you know that your curriculum map always yells at you to get started. However, students are going to do better in your classroom if they feel like it is a place they want to be and learning about them will help you make the classroom that place.
Have students fill out interest and book inventories sharing about themselves and read them! After receiving them and reading them, write each student back a letter. The letter can be quick, but make it personal. Take it to another level by recommending books based on their interests!
For rules, for procedures, for texts, for lessons… let students have input! What is the easiest way to get buy in? Allow students to feel ownership of what is going on in the classroom.
Don’t forget to also talk about yourself! Show them you are human.
Part of making community is students trusting and respecting each other. The only way to do this is to allow students to get to know each other through group work.
Greet every student, every day. Show them from the minute they walk in that you care and are happy they are there. It is such a small thing that will make a huge difference.
Remember, these are kids we are teaching. Don’t jump to conclusions. Listen to them; they have a story to tell. This will show them that you respect their stories, and giving respect leads to receiving it.
What do you do to help build community in your classroom?