Safe Place

What makes a classroom a safe place? I feel every teacher has their own definition of what makes a classroom conducive to learning. Does a teacher’s personality also play a role in this definition? I will share my thoughts but in the end, I really would love to hear from my teacher friends.

Learn their Names

I have always been able to build quick relationships with my students by getting to know their names by the end of the first week of school. My wife was amazed at my superpower. This helped with classroom management but more importantly, my students found out that I cared about each one by learning how to pronounce their names or learning their nicknames. That was the first step of trust.

Ask Questions

I love to hear myself talk so I always tried to ask my student questions. You know, basic questions we all asked the first day of school. But, what we do with that information is critical in getting to know our classes. Once I learned about the hobbies and interests of each of my students, I always wanted to know more. I found out through the years that each student is interested in something, they just have to be willing enough to tell you. Over the years I have had thespians, athletes, rappers, and some, even being the caregivers of their homes. I tried to stay relevant in their interests.

Be Visible

Once I knew their names and interests, I tried to be present in their lives. That would include attending a show in the cafeteria, being a fan at a football game, and grieving with them at a funeral. To be honest, I learned to be visible from my colleagues as I matured as an educator. I was blessed to have such great role models, starting with my wife who created a psychology club and made lifelong relationships with her members; Mrs. Velez who spent countless hours preparing her drama club for the next show; Coach McHugh who is the most selfless person I have ever met and would literally do whatever it took to make sure every player was able to play volleyball. These are the type of imprints an educator can have in a student’s life.

Circle of Trust

The three basic actions that I mentioned would lead to building a trusting relationship with pupils. At that moment is when they felt it was ok to be themselves which allowed them to have an open mind at the same time. I wish I could say I had 100% of success stories, but I feel confident even my struggling students felt comfortable enough to at least TRY!

Please share what you do to get to know your students. How do you show them that you are a human/person? Anyone can be an educator/coach/mentor. Please answer the “Top Question” following this link and I will share the data in a future blog.

Jehu Somarriba

Educator looking to motivate and ignite the genius in every child through use of technology.

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