How I Build Relationships with My Students in Just One Hour

January 20, 2019 No Comments

How I Build Relationships with My Students in Just One Hour

January 20, 2019 No Comments
My absolute favorite part about being a teacher is the relationships that I get to build with my students.  Strong relationships are something that I pride myself on as a teacher and I am constantly working on building those relationships.  At my previous school, it was super easy to build those relationships.  I lived and worked in the same neighborhood, so volunteering after school was an activity that I did often and I was able to spend tons of quality time with my students (and coworkers) outside of the school day.  In addition, I saw my students out of the school building all the time.  I would run into them at the grocery store, parks, and restaurants and I absolutely LOVED hearing my name being yelled when I was out somewhere.

Since I moved schools and I live almost a half hour from my current school, building relationships with my students and their families have been more difficult.  In fact, it has made teaching almost unbearable, though I’ve made a strong effort to change that this year.  The first step that I took was moving from teaching third grade to fifth grade.  I knew that I would have many of the same students for a second round, so I was ecstatic to make the jump and continue building those relationships that we started in third grade.  That move was only the tip of the iceberg, however.

At the beginning of the school year, I told my students about how my husband and I enjoy playing table-top role-playing games (RPGs) like Dungeons and Dragons.  While some of them laughed at my nerdy-ness, more of them were intrigued about what roleplaying games were and how you play them.  I’m not going to lie, I indulged them every question because I absolutely LOVE talking about it!  Soon after, they started begging me to teach them how to play during our short 20-minute recess block.

If you know anything about table-top RPGs, you know it is impossible to play during a 20 minute period, so I recruited my husband we started an after-school RPG club for 4th and 5th-grade students at my school.  We spend an hour a week playing a watered down version of the Pathfinder game.  We use a simplified character sheet that I found online and spent a couple of sessions introducing races and classes, as well as building characters before we split the 24 kids into two groups to start campaigning.

One hour a week has made all the difference.  For the last 4 months, I have been spending time with my students – inside and outside of the school day – discussing and playing a game that we both love.  I get to use my creative juices as the game master (which I’d never done before!) and my students get to build their critical thinking, imagination, and teamwork skills.  It has changed the way that I interact with my students the classroom, it has changed my enthusiasm for going to work, and it’s given my husband a chance to feel connected to my work as a teacher and spend time with the students I can’t stop talking about.  It’s a win-win for everyone involved.

Maybe table-top RPGs are not your jam and, maybe, you struggle to find the time to volunteer after school, but I challenge you with this:  Find something that you and your students can connect through.  Maybe it’s an afterschool art club or board game club.  Maybe you want to have a short before school coffee chat (with hot chocolate for the kiddos, of course!) or a writing club. Find something that creates a true, genuine connection and builds lasting relationships with your students, so that when they look back on their time with you, they remember how much they enjoyed being with you.

sherylwoods

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About Me

Hi! My name is Sheryl and I am so thankful you've found your way to the TeacherLadyKY blog! I'm an elementary educator from Louisville, Kentucky who is passionate about building relationships and literacy skills with my students, as well as empowering teachers around me to be leaders and rockstars. I've taught everything from kindergarten to fifth grade and I can't wait to share my experiences with you! Enjoy! Read More

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  • I love my job. But I miss being home with this guy during the day. That big nose and those sweet ear wispies just take melt my heart.

Crow. ❤️ #teacher #teachersofinstagram #teachersonsummerbreak #teacherpets #dog #dogsofinstagram #goldenretrievermix #dogstagram
  • I could get used to this drive every morning.  Who doesn’t love a beautiful sunrise mixed with that ever-present bourbon-in-the-making smell?

Six months ago, I had no idea I’d be where I am today.  Six months ago, I didn’t think it would get better. I didn’t know there was another side. I didn’t realize that there was better things on the way.  Not just with work, but in all parts of my life. I felt out of sorts. I doubted everything that I was doing.

I do remember telling a certain someone in early April that if all goes well, things will look completely different this time next April. We’re on track for that. 🥰

I am so grateful that I’m here. In this place. With these people. Living this life. For so long, I wondered why the door was constantly slammed in my face, without so much as an explanation. I realize NOW that every closed door was paving a clear path to THE door that I was supposed to walk through.

Just.... all up in my feelings today.  So thankful. So grateful. So blessed.
  • This team.

You know, I prayed that I’d find my place for so long. A place where my voice felt heard, where my talents felt useful and appreciated. I prayed for a place where the energy was so strong, it felt electric - where I could dream a crazy idea and with the almost same breath, see it come to life.

It’s been two weeks, which is hardly enough to judge the outcome of this big life jump I made. But I can tell you right now that THIS TEAM and the staff we support and the kids we empower are going to change the world.

This  P  L  A  C  E (and not the building or the town, but the feeling in my heart) was worth the wait.

Watch out, world. Because @foster.heights is doing the #npossible this year - and we can’t wait to share it with you. #FHhuskyproud
  • I moved into my house in late June of 2012. As I was sitting on the porch, less than a week later, this black and white baby came running through my yard and up to me, eager for some loving. 
She was tiny for her breed - nearly 20 pounds underweight and basically a bag of bones. She was so dirty.  Kids from the neighborhood said they had no idea who she belonged to - she’d been running for a while now. I took her in the backyard and she became a part of our family almost immediately. 
It took her a while to trust us. She wouldn’t let us pick her up. She bolted out the door anytime it was open. Even to this day, she hated fireworks and thunderstorms, which gave her such anxiety that she’d pant, pace, and shake.  We had no idea how old she was,  but we knew she’d seen a lot in her years. She had been terribly abused and, with us, she found a new life of love. 
And she loved so deeply. After a while, she learned that there were plenty of pets, kisses, and treats to go around. She leaned into our sides when she wanted some attention. She begged for walks and car rides. The last seven years of her life were good - so good.  She loved us all, but her Grandpa Dennis Boyd especially. She made our family of puppies complete and we couldn’t imagine life before her. 
Our sweet Hallie Grace crossed the rainbow bridge this afternoon, joining our Annabelle. I will miss her, just like I deeply miss my Belle, but I take comfort in knowing that they are together. ❤️❤️❤️
  • A couple of months ago, I posted about how I’d be moving from fifth grade down to fourth. Well, things change!

This week I accepted an offer to serve as the Backpack Leader at Foster Heights Elementary in Nelson County. I am so thrilled for this position since it allows me to work with teachers and help them level up their skills, but also allows me to stay grounded in my first love: teaching. I will still be responsible for a group of students each day and focused on deep learning with them.

It is bittersweet leaving a school and a district that I love - but when I feel the need to jump, I jump.  I can’t wait to do amazing things with some amazing people in NCS! #npossible
  • A rare day in summer when my makeup is on and my hair is down.  I am absolutely loving these lazy, summer days, but I’m also excited about all of the professional learning that will be happening over the next two weeks.

I’ll admit - it’s hard for me to take a break. But when I do, I break HARD! Learning how to balance and make process, while still taking care of myself.

Enjoy your summer, teachers! You’ve deserve it!

#teacher #teachersofinstagram #teachersonsummerbreak #teacherlife #teachersummer #professionallearning
  • It’s true. You are only as good as the people with whom you surround yourself.
  • Anyone else read two books at once? I keep switching between the two of these. They both started out slower than I wanted, but are starting to pick up.

Brave, Not Perfect is about learning to combat your inner perfectionist and focusing on being brave instead.  It’s a powerful message that more people need to hear and take to heart, myself included.

Everything All At Once is the story of Lottie, whose very famous writer aunt recently passed away, leaving her with 24 letters that includes directions for accomplishing specific tasks. It’s starting to get really good!

#bookstagram #booksofinsta #bookstagrammer #bookstagramit #bravenotperfect #everythingallatonce #teachersofinstagram #summerreading #summerreadinglist #teachersonsummerbreak
  • Did you know that elephants like to give triceratopses piggy nose rides? *Not to scale.

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The TeacherLadyKY blog header and logo were designed by Sheryl, using fonts from A Primary Kind of Life and Brittney Murphy Design.  Clip art is courtesy of Irina Bandyk, whose Etsy shop is WatercolorCliparts.  The blog theme used is Emilia by Georgia Lou Studios.

 

 

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