Today I’ve been struggling with connections. So much research exists about the importance of building relationships with students, not only to help with creating a sense of belonging but also to help with behavior and academic achievement. But there are some students I’m having difficulty with in terms of building trusting, positive connections.

I’ve checked in to see if immediate needs are being met. Are you hungry? Tired? Tough stuff at home? I see that many of the behaviors are attention-seeking, and I’ve praised the positive any time it presents itself, even in the midst of difficult behaviors. I’ve read books on trauma and resilient learners, and I still struggle.

These students make it difficult for teachers to meet the needs of all their students. They take so much of the teacher’s energy and time. I know how exhausting this can be Day in and out. I feel that I can offer a fresh perspective, but I’m not sure what that is.

Maybe it comes down to trust. Trusting that we truly care, and placing expectations on students to demonstrate this trust. I care about you so I won’t allow you to not participate in class discussion. I care about you so I won’t allow you to continue with behaviors that are destructive. I care about you and I believe in you. I care.

This takes time, especially for students who have been let down by other adults in their lives. And sometimes time is hard to give when their behaviors effect the learning of others.

Yet I do know is relationships are key to learning and growing. They are crucial to student and teacher. The are crucial in my role as a coach. They are crucial with administrators and staff. Relationships are worth our time.