Slice of Life: On Relationships

Slice of Life

Something kind of cool has happened to me at school the last few weeks. One of our teachers is also our school counselor. Now, I’m going to be careful here not to divulge anything confidential. But she has become aware of some difficulties our students have been going through.

Today, as I got into school, I was walking past her room, as I do every day. I said good morning to her, and she asked if we could talk for a minute. I happily obliged, knowing that she wouldn’t ask if she didn’t have something well worth my time in those precious moments before everyone else arrives.

She shared with me something that our students were going through. But she said these words to me: “I’m going to share this with you because I know you know these kids and you understand this sort of thing.”

Now, the thing wasn’t an area of my expertise. It wasn’t something that I was told because I’m the English teacher or the math teacher. Not because I’m a male, on the younger end of the teaching age spectrum, or heavily bearded. Not because I love books or because I practice my faith. No, the reason this was shared with me was because I understand that kids need to be in a community where people care about them and look out for them. A place where relationships matter. She shared this with me because I’m a trusted colleague, but also because I “know these kids.”

Do we take the time to know our students? What are the benefits that can come from truly knowing our students? I could write a blog post every day, I think, on what those benefits are.

I won’t, though. Probably.

But even if I did: what could be more important?

9 thoughts on “Slice of Life: On Relationships

  1. I love this story so much! It’s also a reminder I can’t get too many times. We need to know our kids to reach our kids. It all starts with that. Books can help us bridge that gap, but we need to know the kids first and foremost. That is something I am always striving to work on. Also? I secretly kinda hope you do that blog series. 🙂

  2. I constantly tell my pre-service teachers, relationship is everything. Relationship is the most important thing you do in your classroom. I do believe in the importance of our content, and I’m passionate about literacy, but first and foremost, teaching must be an act of caring and love. Only then have we created the conditions in our classroom that lead to learning. I really appreciate how your post reinforces that!

  3. Our colleagues and students know who cares. They pull us aside in the hallway and tell us in hushed words what they know we will need to know to do what we can for those souls who are hurting in one way or another. I’m glad that you are one of those people – your students who need your help most are blessed to have you, but so are your other students for the example you set.

  4. Amen! Being able to really know our kids and have them trust that we know them and have their best interest in all that we do is the best thing that could ever be said about a teacher, in my opinion.

  5. Community. Big, big subject.
    No real teaching without relationship, in my experience. You asked, “What are the benefits that can come from truly knowing our students?”
    I hope you will blog some slices of your moments with kids who know you care.

  6. When I make my teacher request each year for my own children it is always the relationship factor that I’m looking for. Which teacher will develop a positive relationship with my child? Who will care for my child each day while I’m not there? Who will love my child and build her up each day? It’s the most important piece!

  7. Just today at a day of training one topic of discussion was the idea of students not remembering what we say so much content wise as how we make them feel. I am glad that you are focusing on celebrating the importance of connections.

  8. I have always felt, very strongly, that if I do nothing else for a child but help them become a better person then I have done my job. If they leave a little kinder, a litter softer, a little better, that is success. It is important to know them, to build trust, to treat them with respect and care for them. I’m glad she talked to you and I hope you both, together, can help those precious children through their tough time.

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