Importance of Relationship Building as a Young Teacher

Jessica Shaffer
Jessica Shaffer
5th Grade Teacher; MA in Administration & Leadership, Georgian Court University, NJ

Walking into a new job as a young teacher is completely nerve-wracking, overwhelming, and intimidating. There are so many people within the building that can play a pivotal role in your success. You can’t do it alone, so the creation and maintenance of your relationships with your co-workers is important for your career and also your personal well-being.

Why Building a Relationship with a Mentor is Important for New Teachers

Having a good relationship with your mentor is important for new teachers because this is the person that will “show you the ropes.” Your mentor will give you advice and guide you through your first year, while helping you to make connections with other staff members. Mentors are generally seasoned veterans at teaching that can give you perspectives on your role within the school, guide you on how to handle tough situations, and is ultimately your “go-to” person when you need anything.

When you begin teaching, you need to create a classroom management plan, lesson plans, grading policies, a cozy learning environment, a system for collecting and analyzing data, and also you need to learn the curriculum. Your mentor can help you with all of this, and can introduce you to other co-workers that will also guide you. Your mentor will have a strong knowledge of not just the curriculum and staff members, but of the hidden curriculum and ways to work smarter and not harder. A mentor’s role is to help you however you need, and asking questions and asking for help are really important for you to do on your end to make it a successful experience.

Ways to Build Positive Relationships with other Fellow Teachers and Staff

It is extremely important to build positive relationships with the teachers and staff in your building, as your first years of teaching can be overwhelming. One way to form positive relationships is to be present within the school by volunteering for different activities or committees. This shows you are taking an active interest in the school and the students and will also help you network with co-workers.

Another way to do this is to simply be positive. Say hello to your co-workers when they are walking through the hallway, make sure to include yourself in a group to eat lunch with (this is something your mentor teacher could help with), and be present with a smile. When your co-workers recognize you as a friendly face, they are more likely to include you in things. It can be really difficult to find your place when you first start in a new school, and your co-workers will play an important role in your success as a teacher and in your overall happiness.

Don’t be too shy! Don’t be afraid to ask for help, and also look for connections you can make with others. There will always be people who want to take you under their wing and guide you, and they don’t have to be your mentor to do so. Share your ideas with others, and make sure to take constructive criticism for what it is!

How to Build Relationships with Students and Parents

Students want to know you actually care! Take an interest in your students, ask them how their weekend went, stop by their baseball game, have some students in for lunch with you, and just talk about life! You need to make a connection with your students and taking the time to learn about them and make them feel special is a great way to do so. Along with that, be that positive influence for your students, teach them in the best way you can, and help them with any academic, social, or emotional issues that are present.

With parents, I have found that communication is the key. Make sure to keep parents involved, and contact them not only when issues arise, but when positive things are going on. Find ways to regularly share student grades with the parents and answer questions/concerns promptly. Whenever I am in doubt, I reach out. If your school allows, have parents in to help with classroom activities and parties when you can. Make sure the parents understand that education is a team effort, and their support can make a world of difference. As Helen Keller stated, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”

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