The ability to create a personal relationship with our students is one of the most important tools that we have as educators. As Margaret Wheatley says, “Relationships are all there is.” This sentiment has been echoed over and over again by educational authors and researchers. We work deliberately and intentionally to not only remember our students’ names, but we come to know their likes and dislikes, who had a ringette tournament the past weekend, or how grandpa is faring in the hospital. We even keep food for our students who might need it or quietly provide a student with a warmer coat for the colder weather. In these ways and in so many more, teachers and administrators build personal relationships with their students. It is part of what some term the “unwritten curriculum” and we all know of the depth of its importance.
However, a personal relationship goes hand-in-hand with and is strengthened by a strong instructional relationship with students. That is to say, we can know our students by name, we can remember things that are of importance to them, and we can slip them a granola bar. Nevertheless, if our instructional stance is one of, figuratively, standing “across from them” while standing “beside the curriculum” within the expectation that the students “figure both of us out,” then the disconnect between the two relationships becomes palpable. The misalignment is one that students can sense, even if they cannot name it.
You might want to read a little bit more about this in Sandra’s new blog posting, Relationships: Reflecting on Alignment.
And you may want to learn more about ways to strengthen your instructional relationship with your learners. Consider attending one of our summer Institutes. Mark your calendars. We will be in Fredericton, New Brunswick from August 12-14th and in Mississauga, Ontario from August 17-19th. Whether you are a Secondary or Elementary teacher, a school leader, or a PD leader, these Institutes will help you to use assessment, evaluation, and reporting in the service of learning more effectively.
We will be announcing the details shortly. If you are interested in receiving information when it becomes available, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
We would love to see you there!
All our best,
Sandra, Anne, and Brenda