Yesterday, I attended the Elementary School faculty meeting at The Westminster Schools. Eugenia Wattles, the Elementary School Counselor and teacher of Bible Values, gave a wonderful introduction and prayer to open the meeting. Her message was that relationships matter most to students. One of her statements resonated with me:
One of the greatest gifts you can give to students is that they can be known by you.
She emphasized the value of a teacher’s relationship with his or her students. The relationship matters the most and has the power to transform a student’s day at school. As educators, I think we can all identify with Eugenia’s perspective. She believes that the ability of a teacher to construct meaningful relationships with his or her students is the most powerful tool we have to make the classroom a memorable experience.
A study was done in Chicago, with the Chicago Public Schools, that illustrated the importance of good relationships between students and teachers. They concluded that for students to feel safe and welcomed in their school environment, strong and caring relationships were the most critical variable. Here is a link to a news report on the study in the University of Chicago News.
So while teaching content, teaching skills, and getting students ready for the tests and quizzes they need to take are important responsibilities for teachers, forming strong and caring relationships will go further towards helping students feel ready to learn.