As I have volunteered at Wasatch Elementary School, I have gained insight into the teacher-student relationship. In this case, I’m not yet a teacher, so it was interesting to see into the relationship between me, a volunteer, and the students. I have been trying to figure out how to be someone they can respect, someone they can be friends with, and someone that they can listen to. It’s not easy! One thing that I wanted to tackle was learning each of the students’ names. This is helped me to make friends with each student individually. One student always says hi and compliments me on my hair or my outfit. One student always gives me a high-five when it’s time to go. I enjoy each of these relationships that I have with the students.
The students that I had the opportunity of volunteering with are in the sixth grade. Sixth graders are sometimes more disrespectful toward teachers than younger students are, but I think that me being closer to their age helps a little bit. In the classroom, I help to keep the students on task and offer them help as they work in groups. Another thing that I have made it a point to do is to praise them when they do good things. I thanked them or complimented them when they did good things such as helping another classmate, following directions, cleaning up more than their fair share, etc. This motivated them to do good things because they knew that I was watching. The act of reinforcing good things is so powerful and it is neat to see it work in a classroom.
As I have learned more of the childrens’ names, I have found that they respect me more. They are more willing to interact with me or ask for help. I have learned that the little things I do to improve my relationship with each student are so beneficial to the overall atmosphere of the classroom. It’s important to make a classroom a place of respect and to form relationships of trust. Participating in T.O.P.S. (Tutor Outreach to Provo Schools) has greatly helped me to gain insight into the relationships that can be formed in a classroom and will benefit me as I become a teacher.