Building strong relationships between teachers and students is essential for creating a positive and supportive learning environment. These relationships go beyond the traditional teacher-student dynamic and are characterised by trust, respect, empathy, and open communication. 


It has become more important than ever for teachers to develop healthy relationships with students. Not only do positive student-teacher relationships increase academic performance, it also improves social and emotional health of students by helping them build a sense of belonging. Studies have also found that negative relationships between teachers and students can lead to behavioural challenges.


Are you struggling to create bonds with your students? We’re here to help. We’ll explore strategies teachers can use to create a a sense of belonging, motivation, and engagement in the classroom. 

What are positive teacher-student relationships?



Positive teacher-student relationships are about having a good connection between teachers and students. It’s all about teachers and students liking and respecting each other.


Teachers care about students and want them to do well, both in school and in life. Students feel comfortable and happy in class because they know their teacher cares about them.


It’s like having a good friendship where you trust each other and can talk about anything. When teachers and students have a good relationship, it makes learning fun and exciting. Students feel motivated to do their best because they know their teacher believes in them and supports them every step of the way.

How do you build relationships with students?



Get to Know Your Students


Taking the time to get to know each student as an individual is crucial for building strong relationships. Teachers can learn about students’ interests, backgrounds, strengths, and challenges by engaging in informal conversations, asking questions, and actively listening to their stories and experiences.


When you understand your class, you’ll be able to know how to respond in different situations. If a student gets distracted by the outdoors, move them away from the window. If a student in your class has a particular interest, try incorporating it into the curriculum.


By showing genuine interest and care for each student, teachers can establish a sense of trust and connection that forms the basis of a strong relationship.

Laugh with Your Students


Laughter is a powerful tool for building connections and creating a sense of closeness between teachers and students. Teachers who share moments of laughter with their students create a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere where students feel at ease expressing themselves and taking risks.


Whether through humour, funny stories, light-hearted banter, or shared inside jokes, laughter can break down barriers, strengthen relationships, and create lasting memories. By sharing laughter with their students, teachers demonstrate warmth, approachability, and a genuine interest in their well-being. It also makes learning more engaging and encourages students to pay attention.


Through shared laughter, you’ll easily create positive relationships with your students.

Create a Positive Classroom Environment


The classroom is where you and your class spend most of your time. With this in mind, it is important to create a positive and inclusive classroom climate if you want to build strong relationships with your students. Teachers can create a welcoming environment where all students feel valued, respected, and safe to express themselves.


To create a positive learning environment, consider the following:


  • Set clear expectations
  • Promote kindness and empathy
  • Celebrate diversity
  • Set up colourful and inspirational wall displays
  • Offer students flexible seating options
  • Create a classroom community board where students can share goals and achievements
  • Assign students with class jobs like door holder or materials manager
  • Create a cosy reading corner

Show Empathy and Understanding


Showing empathy and understanding towards students’ thoughts, feelings, and experiences is key to building strong relationships.


Teachers can demonstrate empathy by acknowledging students’ emotions, listening actively, validating their experiences, and offering support and encouragement when needed.


By creating a supportive classroom environment, teachers can help students feel seen, heard, and understood, strengthening their bond and sense of connection.

Accept Your Students’ Mistakes


As a teacher, it’s important to accept your students despite their quirks and differences. Teachers can create an environment where students feel comfortable making mistakes, taking risks, and learning from failure.


Treat all students with the same respect and kindness and don’t allow them to disrespect or tease each other. Create a space where all students feel comfortable and welcome. If you ever struggle to stay patient, remember that children who need the most support may show it in destructive ways. Give a fresh start each day and consider how you can help the most challenging children to succeed. Think about what skills they’re missing or what they need help with.


When teachers accept and embrace their students’ mistakes as a natural part of learning, they strengthen their connection with students and create a sense of trust in the classroom. When students make mistakes, ask them what they learned from it and celebrate the lesson learned.

Provide Individualised Support


Individualised support is crucial for building strong relationships with students because it demonstrates that teachers recognise and value each student as a unique individual with their own strengths, needs, and learning styles.


Teachers can provide individualised support in several ways. Firstly, they can assess students’ strengths, interests, and learning preferences to better understand their individual needs and abilities. This may involve conducting informal assessments, observations, or discussions with students to gather information about their academic, social, and emotional needs. Based on this information, teachers can adapt their instruction to meet students where they are and provide appropriate support and accommodations as needed.


Teachers can also offer personalised feedback and guidance to help students set goals, monitor their progress, and reflect on their learning. By providing constructive feedback that is specific, actionable, and tailored to each student’s needs, teachers can help students identify areas for growth and develop strategies for improvement.


Moreover, teachers can offer additional support and resources to students who may be struggling academically, socially, or emotionally. This may involve providing extra practice opportunities, offering one-on-one tutoring sessions, or connecting students with support services and resources within the school community.

Make Learning Fun


Infusing joy and excitement into the learning process can strengthen teacher-student relationships. Teachers can incorporate elements of playfulness, creativity, and exploration into their lessons to make learning enjoyable and engaging for students.


There are several ways to make learning fun:


  • Hands-on activities – Provide activities like experiments or simulations, allowing students to interact with the materials in a tangible way. 
  • Interactive games – play educational games like Jeopardy, Bingo or Kahoot to review and reinforce class topics. 
  • Group projects – Assign group projects that require students to work together as a team.
  • Interactive whiteboard activities – Use online interactive tools like quizzes, games and videos to make lessons more engaging. 
  • Creative assignments – Assign projects like presentations or posters to allow students to express their knowledge in innovative ways. 
  • Storytelling – Use storytelling to make lessons more memorable.

Building strong relationships between teachers and students is fundamental for creating a positive and supportive learning environment. These relationships are built on a foundation of trust, respect, and communication, and they play a crucial role in creating a sense of belonging, motivation, and engagement in the classroom. 


As teachers, it is our responsibility to prioritise relationship-building and create spaces where every student feels valued, supported, and empowered to reach their full potential. 


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