Nov 05

Building a Relationship with Our Students: Concluding Thoughts

Posted by Pamela M. Jones in Fair Is Not Equal on Nov 05, 2012

Part Three of an Interview with Jillian Crowther, 9th Grade TeacherJillian

In this final installment of our interview series with Jillian Crowther, we hear concluding and illuminating thoughts on building relationships with students.

Click here for Parts One and Two.

Pam: Sounds like you advocate for your students by deciding to form your own impression of them.

Jillian: Yes, I try not to pay attention to gossip about students. I think students can sense your judgment; they're very perceptive.

Pam: Wow, Jillian. What you've shared indicates how pivotal a role curriculum plays in engagement and behavioral support. And in terms of it now always working, that's par for the course, no? We get to know our students, try certain approaches in the hopes that they effect some positive change, and if they seem to not work or work less than optimally, we shift gears.

Pam: Of the many strengths that emanate from these two case study examples, perhaps the most striking is the fact that you are indefatigable in your quest to reach and support your students (and it sounds like you do this well).

Jillian: Well, thank you. I try. I think what you said about curriculum playing a pivotal role is so true. I taught supplementary classes as an education coordinator for a non-profit within the school and there wasn't much I could do about how their core academic classes were structured. I tried to meet individual needs during my academic support classes, but that was an hour a week. And even then I surely wasn't always engaging. I think I still have so much to learn about the myriad ways to build relationships, but I think that drawing on my strengths in writing and knowing something about taking on hardships as an adolescent is what helps me. I can only relate based on what I know about myself. That might be the best place for any educator to start.

Pam: You hit on another key point--it's important to draw on our respective strengths as educators when trying to build relationships; this is key as well!

Now that we've reached the end of our three-part interview series with Jillian Crowther, what are your major take-aways?  Were there points that resonated with you?  Points that challenged your thinking?  We'd love to hear your thoughts.

tagged adolescence, building relationships, relationships, self-reflection
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