“Many people believe that the relationship between teacher and student is the starting place for good classroom management. This makes good intuitive sense. If the teacher has a good relationship with students, all other aspects of classroom management will run much more smoothly.” (Marzano 56)
This statement, though very true, gives a certain feeling of a foreboding contradiction to this idea to come– but as the reader would have it, no contradiction comes. Nor should there be any. In the classroom, and in every relationship, it boils down to to respect and communication. With these two guiding principles prevalent in every classroom facet and activity, good student-teacher relationships and positive learning communities can be developed.
Now this is a fine and dandy concept to conceive in a eutopian environment wherein a teacher is completely adored by all of his/her students, and the teacher loves all of his/her students with a mentoring passion that simply radiates awesome from the physical visage of the ethereal educator at the head of the class. But there are true and tangible ways to gain thoughtful and meaningful relationships with students. One step to take is to collect interest polls from students in the firt couple of days of class, outlining their favorite interest and activities. Simple enough. But to take it a step further and make the communication a 2 way street, present your own favorite interests and activities. Even though the book clearly outlines this in Module 12, my reason for this activity is to gain clear records for me to study and refer to for my students as well as show the students that I, too, and a person who can relate to their interests.
Also, we as educators herald students as individuals and not just members of a flock. With that in mind, because each unique individual student adds to the class, each class is as unique and individual of an entity as the students that constitutes as its body. From their, a teacher should come to the conclusion that a set of rules for every and all classes he/she teaches would be inadequate and should instead provide the class as a whole opportunity to provide input to the governing rules of their learning community. This helps provide leadership to students, personal accountability to the students who helped draft and agree to the rules, also fosters communication and trust between the students and the teacher. In this scenario, the teacher acts as a facilitator for discussion on the rules, as well as providing helpful and constructive suggestions to the rules; which in most every case, will become the rules or opinions of the classroom learning community.
Outside of these first initial steps, I intend to do several different things to help foster appropriate yet meaningful student-teacher relationships that I have already began to instill in my character. I intend to attend after school events that my students are involved in. I will serve my school community by volunteering as a club organization adviser, as well as being a participant in student lead pep rallies and other activities. And I will also participate in (as well as provide) community service opportunities for students. I feel participating in these activities reciprocates buy-in and trust, as well as promote stronger relationships and well-rounded community citizens. Don’t just talk the talk with the students; but walk the walk with them on this journey as a mentor in this learning community.
Marzano, R. J., Gaddy, B. B., Foseid, M.C., Fosied, M.P.,& Marzano, J.S. (2009). A Handbook for
classroom management that works; Research-based strategies for every teacher. Upper
Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.