Connect with students in caring ways and encourage them to connect with each other!
- People with strong social relationships are happier and healthier.
- Close relationships provide meaning, support and a sense of belonging.
- Connecting with others, whether this is with students and/or other school staff, is at the heart of feeling good emotionally and happy – for you and for them.1,2
What helps people connect?
- Doing enjoyable activities together
- Talking together and feeling understood
- Being supportive with each other1
Try these simple things to connect on a daily basis:
- Make sure to stand in the hallway, smile and greet students by name.
- Remember to approach students at THEIR eye level, and look them in the eye when you speak to them.
- Simple expressions of genuine care can make ALL the difference in the life of a student - so remember to ask "How are you doing?" and LISTEN to the response!
- Take an interest in the life of children and youth you interact with. Ask, "How was your weekend?" "What did you do?" Tune into and encourage participation in healthy hobbies and interests.
- If a student looks upset or unhappy, check it out by asking 'You seem down, are you doing OK? Do you want to talk about it?" Take the time to listen.
- Model inclusion and acceptance of differences in people and their abilities. Make a point to include others, especially students who struggle to 'fit in'. "Hey Sarah, why don't you join us (e.g. in this recess game, group activity, or lunch table)?"
- Take the first five minutes of class to engage your students in casual conversation - to ask them about their day and what they do out of school. This is a great way to learn about students' interests and life out of school.
- Attend extra-curricular activities when you can. According to high school teacher, Nick Provenzano3, 'It's important to take an interest in the things students love if you want them to take an interest in what you love."
- Arrange to have some 'open door' times for students to pop in and talk. "For the students that stop by, I know it means the world to them to have an adult that will listen and be there when they need it."3
1 Ten Keys to Happier Living. Retrieved from http://www.actionforhappiness.org/10-keys-to-happier-living
2 Huppert, F.A. (2008) Psychological wellbeing: Evidence regarding its causes and consequences. State of the Science Review: SR-X2, UK Government Foresight Project, Mental Capital and Wellbeing.
3 Provenzano, N. (2014). Making meaningful connections with students. Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/make-meaningful-connections-with-students-nick-provenzano