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7 tips for building relationships with students

By Ken Stoflet, Communications Specialist

Positive student relationships are fundamental to academic success. Knowing this, we asked our Renaissance Royals community how they build relationships with their students. We received an overwhelming number of responses and highlighted some of our favorites below:


“I send a welcome letter home at the beginning of the year, introducing myself to my students and welcoming them and their parents to my class. I make it personable so they see me as a person, not just as a teacher.” — Dawn Henline


“On the first day of school, I have my students complete a student-interest survey. It gives me an idea of the things they are interested in such as movies, TV shows, books, and hobbies. I try to incorporate the things they enjoy into lessons as much as possible. If it is something I do not know much about, I try to learn about it so we have something to discuss. If they have certain career goals, I try to incorporate them. The survey has definitely helped to build relationships with my students and it shows that I really pay attention to what they care about as well.” — Angela Larkin


“I ask my students for their input in class decisions that influence them. For example, each quarter they decide the order they will use to line up. Also, I let them choose their partners in activities to reduce conflicts.” — Monica Bertolino


“Go the extra mile with your students whenever possible. If you have a student that plays a sport, attend a game. If they have an event, make an appearance. They notice your dedication and that you support them in multiple aspects of their lives.” — Jacob Brinkman


“I give each of my students a hug, call them by name, and acknowledge them EVERY MORNING…BEFORE THEY ENTER MY CLASSROOM!!” — Emily Carlisi


“I use stickers to encourage my students and reward them for good behavior and hard work. If they get an ‘apple of my eye,’ ‘superstar,’ or ‘paw-sitively awesome’ sticker they leave their name on my board. At the end of the week I write a handwritten card to their parents, telling them positive things about their child and mail the cards. This builds relationships with the students and parents.” — Meredith Sanders


“Listen when they need someone to hear them out. Show you care because you never know what type of affection they are getting at home. Most importantly, act as if they are the most important person in the world!” — Fatima Peters


How do you build relationships with your students? Let us know in the comments! And for more awesome tips, tricks, and teaching materials, make sure to check out our reading resources page.


P.S. Interested in joining the Renaissance Royals? Learn how to become a member and connect with educators across the nation.

Ken Stoflet, Communications Specialist
Ken Stoflet, Communications Specialist
Ken Stoflet is the communications specialist at Renaissance. He has been with the company since 2015 and can be found crafting anything from a press release to a tweet. In his spare time, Ken enjoys spending time with his friends, lifting, and making trips to the Frozen Tundra to cheer on the Green Bay Packers.


  1. Chimere McRae says:

    Awesome tips!

  2. Belinda says:

    I get to know them on a personal level. Know their family, their live. What they like to do and am interested in their activities.

    • carolina says:

      I too, try to get to know them as best I can. I ask them questions and allow them to ask me questions as well. It is funny how they think teachers are not normal human beings.

  3. Virginia Travis says:

    I talk to my kids every morning as they come in back at my computer. I attend important personal events in their lives as much as I can. I usually give each child a small paperback book at the end of the year to remember the year in my class.

  4. Micah Chatterton says:

    These are excellent tips. I find that student’s really respond to close monitoring of their reading levels and habits, along with exuberant praise of their individual progress. Even a student with a low reading level can build confidence quickly by scoring well in his or her ZPD, and the more a teacher or staff member shows that they are really paying attention, the more lasting that student’s confidence becomes.

  5. Meredith Sanders says:

    Thank you so much for featuring my tip. It has helped my class this year so much. ?

  6. Braley Speagle says:

    I always make sure that my students feel as though they are my children. I remind them that I love them, but hold them to extremely high expectations. I have found that simply being a “safe place” for my students was the biggest relationship builder in my classroom.

  7. Rita Platt says:

    There is no way we can overestimate how important building a shared culture of community, success, and growth. Great tips, Royals!

  8. Dvawn says:

    I discover their interests and try to incorporate it into discussions, topics, and the environment.

  9. Jeanie Walker says:

    I understand how important it is for students to feel important. These conversations make them want to succeed in everything they do.

  10. Fatima Peters says:

    So honored to have my response published!!!! Great tips!!!

  11. P R says:

    Building student/teacher rapport is conducive to a student’s success in school. We must remember that we might be the only positive influence some of our students receive each day.

  12. Jennifer Bunn says:

    My favorite way to connect with students is to have a private one on one conversation about what is going on in their life. I remember one of my teachers taking time at lunch to listen to stories we wanted to share and I would think of something to tell her everyday and she would actively listen to every story. I try to do the same with my kiddos.

  13. Angela Larkin says:

    Thank you so much for featuring my tips and thank you for all of the other great tips!

  14. Narda Lugo says:

    Helpful tips. Especially if you genuinely care for your students.

  15. kada says:

    Awesome teachers always go that extra mile. When you show up for their games or visit a church the family realize that you care about the child .

  16. Sarah Swanzy says:

    I build relationships with students by playing games at recess, eating lunch with them, learning about what they like to read, and using technology to build community (Goggle Classroom. Class Twitter, ect).

  17. David Keech says:

    These are all great tips. Students need to be connected with their teachers, classmates and schools. Humility and a sense of humor goes a long ways towards showing students teachers are people who care.

  18. Renee Graham says:

    I tell them “I love you” every day. Children respond to love.

  19. Find out what kind of music they like and play it at the start of class or as you transition between stations.

    • Ken Stoflet, Communications Specialist Ken Stoflet says:

      Great idea, David! I remember my teachers playing music at the start of class or during free time.

  20. Francine Canarios says:

    Meredith Sanders-I love your suggestion! I try hard to make sure that I have positive parent interaction. If we only call when something bad happens, the parents dread talking to us as much as the students dread us calling. Positive reinforcement goes much further than negative! Thank you for sharing! I think I will add this to my bag of resources.

  21. Stacey Painter says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your tips!

  22. Kelly Barr says:

    I attend afterschool events that my students are involved in.

  23. Christina says:

    Birthday boards in upper grades are a great way to connect with kiddos you only see for 50 minutes.

  24. Sheila says:

    Thank you for sharing these tips! Anything that we can do to help students feel loved, valued and appreciated is important to facilitate a safe learning environment.

  25. Nancy Jackson says:

    I’ve been librarian for thirty years and have them from kindergarten and up. I have had parents of many. I talk to them in the library and hall. They are always saying things like: I got my percent to 85, I have so many points, I tested a made 100, etc. I love my kids and they know it!

  26. Laura Quiroz says:

    Making the time to listen to their questions and concerns is key to having a great relationship with students.

  27. Amanda Mathews says:


    Kids are people too. Share things from your life that relate to circumstances they are going through. Be real with your kids. Explain things to them how you would want things explained to you. Also keep in mind that they feel just like you – The Golden Rule always applies.

  28. Sarah says:


  29. Christy says:

    Great tips. Simple ideas to build relationships.

  30. Shannon says:

    I use a wide variety of strategies. From tools like Classroom Dojo to monitor and reinforce behavior and communicate with parents, to competition with other classes where we see who can read the most words (we call it the millionaires club. A few years back we set the school record at over 50 million words). I also use authentic praise. I think it is important to be honest with students. Those are just a few.

  31. Elijah khan says:

    You need to be genuine to your students in all matters dealing with them. For instance, apologize when you are at fault; keep your words when you say them to the students; trust the students and be proactive at all times.

  32. Virginia Wiedenfeld says:

    I am so excited about the techniques others are utilizing that are part of what I am doing. The following are some of my ideas that have not been mentioned.

    I am blessed to have known some of my students for over seven years. As a librarian, every year I have the older students complete a survey to tell me what kind of books and material they would like to read. The students know I am interested in what they are reading and care for them. Another way I encourage this communication is I have a Mini Composition Book and when the students want a certain book, I have them write down the title with their names in it. This is just a few of the strategies I utilize to build relationships with the students.

  33. Carly says:

    All are great tips but #7 is the one that sticks with me.

  34. Renée Graham says:

    I attend recitals, ball games and baptisms. Anything that is important to them, I try to support.

  35. Connie Redfick says:

    Keeping the students engaged is a challenge, so I always keep their interest in mind when planning.

  36. Dvawn Maza says:

    I find out their interests and share mine with them!

  37. Melissa Robles says:

    Thanks for sharing these great tips!

  38. Patricia L Preciado says:

    As a Media Tech I have a book Fair in the first week of school, it has helped to welcome families on campus and promote reading on our primary campus. It is a event that brings teacher, students and parents to the library all at the same time. The profit earned by sales from the book fair is deposited into the yearly library budget to buy new books, sponsor reading events and buy prizes for contests to promote reading all school yea! It is a win win for all!

  39. Deborah says:

    Thanks for sharing such wonderful tips. It’s always inspiring to see what other professionals are doing in their classroom to help inspire student learning.

  40. Marcia says:

    The power for a child to learn is for their teacher to take an investment into them as a child, not just a student.

  41. deborah westling says:

    Thanks for reminding us how important building personal relationships with each student is in their attitude towards school and reading.

  42. Sarah says:

    I always send a postcard before school starts to welcome the students to my class. When school starts, I have the parents fill out a paper that has questions about the child (siblings, hobbies, etc.) to help me get to know a little bit about them at the beginning of the year.

  43. deborah says:

    I get to know my students on a personal level and their families. Often times what is happening at home flows into school so connecting to both is a plus.

  44. Dr. Jolanda Roby says:

    Its so important to build a solid rapport with all of my students. To welcomed them each day with a simple smile and a whisper of “I love you” makes a difference!

  45. S.Bellomo says:

    It is true: Students need to feel the accomplishment of a job well done, they need to be motivated by enthusiastic and helpful people, to know they can achieve great things with hard work and persistence.

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