In order to connect with his students, a well meaning teacher once gave this math problem. “Johnny has an AK-47 with a 40-round clip. If he misses six out of 10 shots and shoots 13 times at each drive-by shooting, how many drive-by shootings can he attend before he has to reload?” While some may be shocked at this example for a math test, the teacher defended his choice by saying that it was the only way he could get across the problem to the students who grew up amidst gunshots and rifles. This may be an improbable example for most of us, but talking to students in a language they understand is one of the best ways to connect with them. It does not mean losing professionalism or not being a teacher. Connecting with students can be a well-balanced act.
Whether you are teaching students in an online web design degree course or in a live classroom, connecting with students is the most basic tenet. Sadly, it is also the most forgotten tenet of the teaching profession. In their hurry to finish the subject and prepare the students for tests, most teachers forget to connect with the students.
For connecting better with students, teachers should listen effectively. Listening does not really mean you agree to whatever the student says. It means you are willing to hear the student out. This creates a bond of trust. Break the monotony of regular classes with an informal session of knowing each of your students personally, their interests, dreams etc. Students don’t appreciate teachers who begin a statement with, “You cant…” or “you don’t know…” especially as a complaint to the parents.
Students need more than a teacher. They need mentors. Shake hands with them. Pat them on the back and make them feel good about themselves.