Student-Teacher Relationships Matter

--Originally published at Mrs. Gibbs Flips Algebra 1

It's Friday after school ... I'm exhausted ... blogging has been waaaay in the back of my mind.

But I was sitting here thinking about a couple of experiences of this (oh-so-long, trying) week, and a blog post was born.

I work hard on student relationships. I don't always get it right. Some days I really blow it. But, overall, I am proud of the rapport I have with kids. I have found that if they know I am on their side and have their backs, they will pretty much walk through walls for me. I can usually crack even my toughest cases. I have had a couple of students for whom it took most of the year, but eventually, I feel I become allies with all my students.

Yesterday was a tough day. Teacher-Monster was just below the surface and attempting to make a full-fledged appearance. I think I might start calling her Teacher-Hulk. My patience was thin, and kids seemed to be doing everything they could to break it. On purpose. :)

One such kid is one of my students, and we have been working on a positive relationship all year. He hasn't been a particularly tough case, but he occasionally surprises me with brief defiance or saying things without first running them through a filter. We've had many good discussions about what kind of responses - to a teacher, in particular - are appropriate.  He's come a long way.

But there's been this one issue that he keeps pushing. And pushing. And pushing. I've talked to him. Other teachers have talked to him. Administration has talked to him.

And yesterday, I'd had enough. The issue surfaced between classes in the hall, and I called him out. I told him to come with me to the office. He begged me the entire way to not do it. It was not pretty.

After it was over, I worried I had destroyed what we had worked on all year. I worried what today would be like when I saw him again.

Between classes this morning I was standing in the hall looking nowhere in particular. I was in my own little world, and I heard, "Hey, Mrs. Gibbs." It was him as he was walking by me. I called him to me.

"Are we ok?"

"Yeah, we're ok."

"I'm sorry I went off on you. You know I love you. I just want what's best for you."

"I love you, too, Mrs. Gibbs."

When he came to class a little later, everything was good. Yesterday was forgiven. Today was a new day.

Every act of every day that builds a positive relationship with students matters. And the foundation that is built every day can help withstand the rough days.

Fresh starts matter. New beginnings matter. Forgiveness matters.

Relationships matter.


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