10 Ways to build TRUST in the classroom

Character, character character.  It builds trust in a classroom!

The best way to “Be a person that can be trusted” is to KEEP YOUR PROMISES.  It really is simple as that.  But to have a harmonious classroom, teachers must TRUST their students and students must TRUST their teachers.  This builds a productive classroom where everybody learns.  Here are some tips:

5 Ways to get Students to trust their Teachers – You may think that just because a teacher is an adult he or she gets a free pass in the trust department.  Not true.  Especially nowadays with media harping on every indiscretion, generally from adults, especially famous ones.  All students have had “bad” teachers.  Teachers that don’t seem to care, that teach the lessons too fast, that are boring and not helpful at all.  So, here are some tips to help get students to TRUST their teachers.

  1. Be available for help – Every student needs real help at some point in time.  If a child in your class is failing or not getting the lesson, it’s your job to find out why.  Explaining lessons clearly in class may not be enough.  When a student asks for help, make sure they understand exactly what is being taught before letting them go.  They need to know that you are on their side and want to help them succeed.
  2. Be creative – For some this is, by far, the most difficult proposition.  But as you may know, children learn in different ways.  Some are visual, some are tactile etc…  If you can create lesson plans that hit all (or most) learning methods you’ll become more relate-able and therefore more trusted.
  3. Be yourself – Kids see right through phoneys.  Especially teens kids.  You need to be you.  If you’re putting on an air, students know it and wonder why.  It’s the best way to be mistrusted by your students.
  4. Lead by example – I’ve done many school assemblies where the teachers are texting and checking their email and Facebook.  Or grading papers when they should be paying attention to what is said.  Students see this and want to emulate it.  There are many other examples during class time.  And when they are told that they can’t or shouldn’t, the teacher is seen as a hypocrite.
  5. Respect your students – There is a good chance they will recognize it and return the favor.

Remember, by gaining your students trust, teaching becomes easier and students are more eager to learn.

5 Ways to get students to trust each other

  1. Keep a secret/No gossip – Kids tell each other lots of private stuff.  Secrets.  Opinions.  Likes and dislikes.  I am a magician.  Truly.  My kids understand how to keep a secret.  Their friends always ask them to “Tell me how he does it”.  They never give in.  Kids should treat all secrets this way.  THE BETTER YOU KEEP A SECRET, THE MORE SECRETS YOU’LL KNOW.
  2. Help when you can – This is similar to some of the teacher’s methods for building trust.  If a friend is having a tough time with their homework, or relationship etc…  help them out.  With the advent of Skype, Facetime and texting it’s easier than ever to connect.  Use those media methods to help your friends (and keep it to yourself).  They’ll appreciate it and reciprocate.
  3. Keep your promises – Ok.  I know that I opened this article with this, but it’s worth repeating.  If you say you’re going to meet someone for lunch.  Be there.  If you say your going to help someone out.  Do it.  If you say you’re going to do anything, make sure it happens.
  4. Have common goals and work together to accomplish them – When children succeed together, they gain trust AND respect for each other.
  5. Do exercises in class that build trust –  I just read a great article about a number of exercises that students can do in the classroom to build trust.  Here’s the link.

As you can see, trust is a major issue in the classroom.  Gossip, teachers and students not paying attention to each other, hurt feelings etc…  All can lead to a not-so-harmonious classroom.  But we can break this cycle.  Some students and teachers do it naturally, some need a bit of help.  All we can do is continue to help build that trust and create a more productive environment.

Dedicated to adding character to the classroom.
John Abrams
Southern California’s Top Elementary School Assembly Performer

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