Episode 76 How to develop a rapport with students

Show Notes

Key Point #1: Let your personality shine

  • Be yourself with the kids

  • Let yourself have fun

  • Share your other interests… someone else will also be interested

Key Point #2: Smile a lot

  • Naturally drawn to people who smile

  • Be friendly

    • Show an interest in the students

    • Help them when they need it

    • Avoid sarcasm

Key Point #3: Engage with students outside of class time

  • Volunteer to run lunch groups

  • Talk to students at lunch and recess 

  • Play games with them

  • Volunteer to coach their sports or debating team

  • Get involved in musicals etc

  • Inquire into their life outside of school

Key Point #4: Flatter them


  • Everyone loves to be complimented

  • DO NOT comment on their looks instead:

  • Focus on:

    • Effort

    • Kindness

    • Talents

    • Skills

    • Anything else


Dan: (00:00)
Hi everyone. And welcome to the effective teaching podcast. I’m your host, Dan Jackson. And today we’re looking at how to develop rapport in your classroom with your students. And this is episode 76. So if you haven’t subscribed, click the button, subscribe to the podcast. And this week I’m giving away an infographic with this episode. So head over to teacherspd.net/76, and you can grab the infographic. It’ll have a few points on there about how to develop rapport with your students. The first point I want to make when it comes to developing rapport with students is to make sure that you are actually being yourself. Okay. Don’t put on a persona when you’re in your classroom, don’t stand there. Like you have to be this dry teacher at the front, allow yourself to be yourself. Stand there, just share your personality with your kids, make jokes, getting involved in just normal chatter and talk to them about who you actually are and share stuff about yourself.

Dan: (01:01)
So let yourself have some fun with the kids, that whole point of being able to make a joke and laugh about it, not make the kid a joke, but make a joke or laugh at the kids. Joke. You know, that that kind of stuff really goes a long way with your students and make sure you’re also sharing your other interests. So I would often talk to my kids. You know, when I was at one point, I used to go to the gym all the time. I used to go twice a day at one point, 7 days a week, it was a bit intense. Uh, but I would then share that with my students. And I would make connections with the kids who were into, you know, going to the gym and getting fit and healthy and getting strong. Um, there was other times where I would share stuff around my love for gardening.

Dan: (01:42)
And so I love I’m really into permaculture. I have a huge garden in my backyard that grows veggies. I’ve got goats, I’ve got chickens, I’ve got quails, I’ve got lots of fruit trees. I literally just bought a brand new block because my current block, which is 900 square meters, it is too full. I run out of room to expand my garden. And so we are actually in the process of moving. We’ve bought the block of land. We now have just over an acre to work on our garden over there, to give our animals a bit more room and to create a much easier space, I guess, for us in terms of this permaculture life of managing gardens and that kind of stuff, and still having space for kids, et cetera, to run around and have fun. It’s going to be a year process. I’ll probably keep you up to date with that because I want to make sure I’m also sharing with you and you know, stuff that’s happening in my life. It’s part of me developing rapport with you. So it’s always something to share because there will always be someone else in the class who also is interested in that kind of stuff. So yeah, if I talk about gardening, it might be a kid in the class who also is interested in gardening. When I share things around my perspectives on health and how I view health, there’ll be other kids who are interested in that because it’s not quite the mainstream in terms of what my perspective is or what quality health really looks like.

Dan: (03:07)
The next point is that you should smile a lot. Okay? Smiling just releases endorphins. When people see smiles, they want to smile back. And that naturally just sends this chemical message through your body and through the kid’s body, that your friend, that you’re actually someone who is friendly and kind, and the more that you can be friendly, the easier it is to develop rapport with your students. And so having a good smile, it doesn’t look like it doesn’t be a good smile, but yeah, being smiley right, uh, will draw people to you. And this will work even just in your business life. When you’re working with colleagues and staff, if you are smiling, when you’re talking to them, it shows you a happy, it shows that you are someone who cares about them and those kinds of things. And also he makes sure you’re being really friendly, right?

Dan: (03:58)
So you want to show an interest in your students, ask them questions about life outside of school, get to know them really well and care about what they actually say back to you. Make sure you’re listening to that. And when you can try and ask them a question about something that they shared with you the week before or something. So, you know, a student may have said, Oh, this weekend, we’re going away on holiday down to an, a Jarvis Bay. And so the next time that you see them, you can say, Hey, how was your trip to Jarvis Bay? And that shows that you’re interested in them, that you care about them. And that is really a great way to start to develop reports, especially if you do that with a smile and that you are showing your friendly side, uh, other ways to be friendly at it, help them when they need it.

Dan: (04:42)
So if you see, you know, maybe their balls rolled off from their handball game, pick it up or run over and grab it, Chuck it back to them. Uh, you know, if they’re struggling to carry something or they’re moving something around, or even if they just drop their pen in your class, as you walk past, pick it up and give it to them with a smile and be friendly and move on. So just simple things like that can really impact a student’s day because there’s lots of memes that go around about how, you know, how a teacher smiling, a student, maybe the only smaller that student sees all day. Uh, and as much as I hate that, that is true. I know that for some students, it is. So please be that person who smiles at the student who says hello, and who remembers their name.

Dan: (05:23)
That is really important. The other thing that I want to tell you to do, and that’s, this is really something to not do. It, it’s something that took me a while not to do is to avoid using sarcasm in your classroom. Or even when you’re talking with kids in general, uh, sarcasm tends to be a higher order, um, process for making jokes. And often sarcasm comes at the expense of someone and you don’t want it to be interpreted the wrong way or taken the wrong way or to offend someone. And I know that as I went through, I offended lots of people. I offended, you know, I, I know my wife hated my sarcasm when we first started going out. And whenever it does come out of me, she always says, “Oh, stop it.” So, yeah, she really hates it. And I’ve seen it happen to my students as well.

Dan: (06:08)
What I’ve been sarcastic in my classroom, the kids didn’t read it as sarcasm or didn’t quite get it. And then it just falls into heap and you end up offending someone. So just don’t use it at all. And that will help to make sure that you don’t accidentally offend a student in your classroom. A third key point in this episode is for you to engage with students outside of class time, that it’s important that you engage with them in your class. So I don’t want you to neglect that at all, but when you are outside of class, make an effort to get to know students then as well, and so ways to do this or that you could volunteer, run a lunch group, pick something that you’re interested in, okay. Maybe you’re really into board games. And so you could run a board game club at lunch, just bring your board games into school, or get the school to buy a couple of board games and have kids come in and play board games together during lunch.

Dan: (06:59)
And it’s a way for you to interact with them, for you to be playing with them. Uh, talk to students at lunch and recess, particularly like if you’re out on duty and walking around, say hello to the kids as you go past, you know, by name, even if you can. And I actually would often use times, particularly during exams and stuff, to test myself, to see how many names I could remember. It’s super important that you remember a student’s name. If you’re trying to develop rapport with them. So get to know them, do with this chat to them, play games with them. If you can, whether that be sports games or just, if they’re mucking around, play a game and they try and include you, if it’s possible, join in, right. You’re not going to do any harm. Okay. But if you’re, you know, if you’re on duty, make sure you’re doing your duty.

Dan: (07:45)
Obviously you can’t just join in to play with them the whole time, but you could maybe do it for 30 seconds and just make a joke and then keep walking. And that helps to show the students that you care. You understood, but they generally understand that you also have other things that you have to get done. You can also volunteer to coach their sports team or to be involved in the debate team for something or something that you’re at your school. You can get involved in musicals to get to know your students. You can even inquire just generally into their life outside of school. You want to engage with them outside of school. Heck if you run into a student at the shopping center, don’t avoid them. Okay. Don’t embarrass them, but don’t, don’t avoid them. Okay? So if you walk past and you see them and you make eye contact, just smile, say hello and keep moving.

Dan: (08:32)
If it’s a student who particularly likes you and they come over to say, hello, you’re in for a good chat. Okay. But do that because it’s important for students to know that you care about them and that you’re interested in their life. And it will have a great impact in terms of what you do in your classroom and the learning that the student has. But even more important than that, it will have a great impact on their life because you become a person who they can come to, who they might see as a mentor. That might be the person that they know will care. If they come and share something that’s super important. And you could be that person who has a great impact on them, just by doing these simple things. The last point I want to encourage you to do, and don’t go over the top with this one, but I do want you to flatter them.

Dan: (09:13)
I want you to compliment your students. As often as you can, any time you notice something that you could compliment, compliment them, okay. Be the person who encourages them and who gives them positive things to say, now I do want to limit this. Okay? You do not want to compliment your students in the terms of how they look, no matter what sex they are or what gender, whatever you don’t want to compliment them on their looks. Okay. What you want to compliment them on things like their effort or their kindness, their talents, the skills that they have, anything other than how they look okay. If anything, if you, if you want to comment on, like, if let’s say it’s a mufti day or something, and someone’s got a particularly good outfit, you can comment on the wonderful outfit they’re wearing and how it all matches or something.

Dan: (10:04)
But don’t comment and say, Oh, you look beautiful. Stay. Or that looks amazing. Okay. Say your dress looks really good at matching your shoes. Okay. And that’s you commenting on the clothes and you’re not commenting on the student themselves. Cause it can get you into a lot of trouble if you do that. Well, let’s summarize what we’ve said so far in this episode. So number one, let your personality shine. Be yourself with your students and with the students at your school, smile, as much as you possibly can engage with your students, any chance that you get, particularly using their name and make sure that you flatter them in a positive way that builds them up. Be the person who encourages them. Well, that is it for this episode. I really want to encourage you to click the subscribe button, come back and get the next episode. If you were interested in grabbing the infographic for this episode, come over to teacherspd.net/76. And you can grab that infographic. And I hope that you’ll come back and join me next week when I’m going to be linking my love for gardening, to my love for education. I hope to catch you then.

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