We have all experienced high school students in our classroom that have been hard to reach.
They try us to our very core.
We try to talk to them and to show we care, yet nothing. We are not acknowledged, nor are our efforts.
We have come up with activities that we just knew would grab their attention…still nothing.
So how do we build that relationship that seems unreachable?
High school students spend more time and energy, worrying about the things they have going on at home. They worry more about the treatment from other students than whether they are learning or not.
If teachers ignore the needs of high school students, then they will be less able to reach their educational needs.
Students take on so much before they enter the classroom, and we are unaware of the real impact it is having on them.
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The following ideas are ways teachers can build positive relationships with high school students in their classroom:
4 Powerful Ways To Reach High School Students
● Provide Structure
● Teach with Enthusiasm and Passion
● Have a Positive Attitude
● Incorporate Humor into Lessons
Students thrive off of structure. We start as babies that have a routine. It is structure. It is concrete, and it is something they know will not change.
Students love consistency. They love to know that no matter what they have going on in their lives, they can depend on their classroom to stay the same.
Teach with Enthusiasm and Passion
Grab their attention. Provide new and unique ways of learning material. Show that you are just as interested in watching the student learn, as they want to learn.
I found the following creative ways to teach that really engage high school students.
- Creative Ways to Teach High School English
- 8 Out-of-the-Box Ideas for Teaching Algebra and Geometry
- 50 Innovative Teaching Methods in Science
- Writing Strategies Made Simple
Have a Positive Attitude
Mixing in a positive attitude with enthusiasm and passion will ensure that you not only grasp their attention, but you show that you care.
Incorporate Humor into Lessons
Incorporating Humor into Lessons allows students to see the “real” side of teachers. It gives us human-like qualities.
Many times students view us as teachers with no lives. All we do is wake up and plan on how miserable we plan to make them that day.
However, when they see that we are putting in the effort to go the extra mile, then they are willing to let down their guard for a moment.
I think another important thing to remember is to listen. Yes, we need to keep a professional distance, but at the same time, making small talk is not going to break the rules.
By merely making yourself approachable, it will open the door for students to share bits and pieces of their lives. Stopping what you are doing to take the time to make eye contact while they share a funny story with you will pave the way to establishing the feeling of trust.
I think there are more adults in the building that do not show they care than adults who do. We never know what that student encounters or hears right before they walk into our classroom.
We do not know what home looks like for them when they leave these safe walls.
- Are they hungry?
- Do they have running water?
- Is everyone treating them appropriately?
Just one small gesture is all it takes. You would be surprised at the doors that it opens.
What other ways have you found to reach high school students in your classroom? Please share in the comments below.
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