You will always hear me talk about the value of Twitter in education as it relates to PLNs. In fact, after reading this post, hop over to my Growth Partner post and you’ll find a solid list of PLNs to check out and become a part of on Twitter.

Speaking of PLNs, Brian Aspinall posed an #edchat question, “What is your best strategy for building relationships with students?”

I gave the question deep thought before responding. One word came to me. Care. We build the best relationships with students when we:

  • Care about who they are
  • Care about what they like
  • Care about what they don’t like
  • Care about their sports, troubles, ups, and downs.

I thought about what care means to me. Every relationship with students (and anyone else) is built with care.

I invite you to experience and explore 4 Keys to Building Relationships with C.A.R.E:

Cultivate relationships

Always listen

Reach every student

Establish trust

When we care about who kids are, we want to find out if they have brothers, sisters, and even pets. It’s fun to know their favorite foods, and which foods are on their icky list.

Knowing cartoons and movies kids enjoy will open a portal to their imaginations as they elaborate and sometimes add to their favorite scenes.

Giving students the opportunity to discuss sports, music, art, and other extra curricular activities in which they may be involved lets them know you care about who they are, not just what you need to teach.

Next year, my kids will rate their feelings on an emoji board. I really wanted to do it this past school year, but the development of flexible seating and creating a unique learning and experience was my focus. An emoji board will be a fun way for them to share how they’re feeling.

In my heart, I already know it will be easier for kids to put a sad face on the wall, before they would ever just come up and voluntarily tell me what’s going on (some do that readily, but not all).

If I know Ben is having a rough morning, I can support be patient with him. We are sometimes guilty of expecting students to perform at their maximum everyday. How many bad days do we have?

Have you ever had a year when one of your students’ mom was pregnant? If you gave the student the opportunity to share that his mom was pregnant, you likely were told priceless stories all year long.

That’s the way it should be with every student. We need to find out what puts the spark in each child’s eye. What makes them sound like a kid at candy store?

When we build relationships with C.A.R.E. we can find out about the sparks, the bad days, the highlights, and the little things.

Your investment in building relationships with students creates a snowball effect and you’ll see students building relationships with one another.

Students embrace after she receives a birthday card he made in his free time.

Former student requested to spend a day with my class and me. She immediately tended to a student’s hurt hand with gentle care.

Student knew how much I love Kit Kat bars so he brought 2 pkgs in his lunch!

Student saw me taking my son’s prom pics, we invited him to join the fun!  My son (in this picture) mentors this student’s cousin.

Teaching a friend to jump rope was more important than playing with her friends..

Saw this bird’s nest and sent pic via the Remind app on a Saturday…great conversation for Monday!

A classmate brought this magazine to share because a classmate’s family was featured. We put work aside and allowed the featured student to tell us about it.

Some pictures don’t need an explanation.

Authentic relationships built with care. Parents became friends, class became family!

Think about your most memorable relationship with a student. As in close your eyes and envision the student and moments you shared.

Now, share with us what made that relationship so special? What investments were made in that relationship? As perpetual learners, we all need to hear how you C.A.R.E.-d- for that student whose memories are etched into your heart.