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Building a Relationship With Your Students 

Is it really necessary to build a relationship with a student? After all, I am their teacher and this is a business endeavor. 

After 20+ years of teaching, I have learned one of the most important things a teacher does is build a relationship with their students. 

Why is it important to get to know your students? First of all it makes them comfortable and put them at ease. We all learn better if we feel relaxed. 

It also gives you some background information on them. It helps to understand where they are coming from and helps to meet them where they are currently. It is a good way to learn about their personality and like and dislikes. Knowing their personality helps you adjust your teaching method to best suit them. It also gives you information on how to tailor lessons individually to each student.

How do you get to know them? I think asking questions about their likes/dislikes and opinions on things helps them open up. I also tell stories about my life/experiences. This often gets them engaged and they end up sharing related experiences in their life. It also helps to show a genuine interest in subjects they choose to tell you about. 

In closing, I think we have all had teachers we couldn't relate to. On the other hand, many of us havel encountered teachers who are really interested and engaging and who seem genuinely interested in knowing us. If students feel comfortable and at ease, they will be better learners. I think getting to know your students is an essential part of being a successful teacher. Happy teaching to all!!

Sarah Beckelheimer is a piano instructor and co-owner at Dynamic Music Studios in Coralville, IA. Photo is from our coat drive and open house in collaboration with the North Liberty Community Closet.

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