Currey Ingram Blog

How Teachers Build Authentic Relationships

Posted by Dr. Danielle Barton, Lower School Division Head on Sep 18, 2019 7:05:00 AM

One of the benefits of a small community is our ability to build authentic, genuine relationships with students and their families. In conversations with families about their Currey Ingram experience, I hear parents appreciate that teachers take the time to fully “know” each child in their care. A large body of research highlights the importance of caring, warm and respectful interactions between students and teachers and their association to broader outcomes including student engagement, academic achievement, peer acceptance, and motivation (Bear, 2010). Marc Brackett, founding director of the Yale Center of Emotional Intelligence, explained knowing someone based on three levels:

Trait level: This is the most superficial level of knowing, although still important. These are characteristics you can often observe after being with a child for a short period of time and include such things as their level of extroversion or introversion or academic skill level.

Inner Dynamics: This level requires a deeper dive and includes a child's preferences, motivations, goals, hopes and values. 

Story: This level unfolds as deeper relationships are developed over time. A child’s “story” is shaped by cultural background, family dynamics and personal experiences. No one story is the same.

Teachers in the Lower School understand the importance of building authentic relationships with each of their students. This may be done in a variety of ways, including file reviews, parent conferences, morning community time, lunchroom conversations, show and shares, birthday celebrations, attending outside sporting activities, celebrating small successes, and more. We appreciate the uniqueness of your child’s story and understand that this is what makes our community so special.

Resource: Bear, G. B. (2010). School Discipline and Self-Discipline: A Practical Guide to Promoting Prosocial Student Behavior. New York, NY: The Guilford Press.

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