Of course we all know that relationships are central to teaching, and of course we all know that good relationships are pre-cursor to good teaching.

But I wonder if we can clarify what a good Teacher/Student relationship looks like?

In my experience good relationships in the classroom don’t depend on likeability as such. By that I mean we shouldn’t be aiming to be friends with students.

Rather a good relationship is built on 3 key things.

  1. Respect

Respect must be a two-way street. No you shouldn’t expect students to respect you just because you’re a teacher. No-one has EVER been able to convince as to why this should be the case. Respect is something that takes time to be built and nurtured. Calling kids by their first name (not a nickname or surname) is a good starting point.


  1. Trust

Let’s be honest, schools don’t trust kids. That’s why schools ban Facebook. That’s why unions panic if student feedback is suggested as a good way of measuring teacher performance. But if we don’t trust the kids – and they know this – why would they trust us? How many kids think that a teacher’s “out to get them?”


  1. Show that you care.

Studies have shown time and again, the number one thing kids need from a teacher is the sense that they care about how they’re doing; both socially and academically. They feel that the teacher wants what’s best for them, and the way this is conveyed with respect and trust.

I wonder what would happen if every schools’ motto was “We respect, trust and care about students.”

Author: Dan Haesler, he is a teacher, consultant, and speaker at the Mental Health & Wellbeing of Young People seminars He writes for the Sydney Morning Herald and blogs at http://danhaesler.com/ and tweets at @danhaesler