Professional Development

Authentic Relationships

Ask any veteran teacher and they will tell you that the stronger the relationship with the student, the less likely behavioral problems will erupt in the classroom.

Good relationships equal good classroom management, pure and simple.

Meet John Gunderson. A 17-year veteran, he teaches at Dana Hills High School in Orange County, Calif. He estimates the student demographics as about 80% White, 17% Hispanic and the other 3% from various other ethnicity groups. Gunderson describes his school as having an "economic advantage."

In the video below, he talks about the importance of building authentic relationships with students.

Look For:

  • What do you think John means when he says that thinking of students as an "other" loses their humanity? What is it to "other" someone?
  • What does John mention as an inappropriate relationship? What are ways that you build appropriate relationships with students?

Go Deeper:

Rethinking Classroom Discipline

In Bob Peterson's book review of Marilyn Watson and Laura Ecken's Learning to Trust: Transforming Difficult Elementary Classrooms Through Developmental Discipline, building trusting relationships is highlighted as an important component of classroom management.

Reflect On:

  • Where does discipline get its power?
  • Why is it important for students to hear phrases like "friends don't embarrass friends" and "friends forgive" over and over again?

Ready Resources:

Use poetry to build relationships in the classroom from Rethinking Schools

Illustration of person holding and looking at laptop.

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