RAPPORTPreviously on Teach Like a PIRATE...
That quote perfectly sets the stage for this chapter about developing rapport with students. I totally related to Burgess' recounting of how he often has little difficulty with students who are a mess with other teachers. I am a magnet for "troubled" students. I won't go so far at to say I have "little difficulty" with them, but I know that I do collect them, so I paid big attention to this chapter.
In this chapter of Teach Like a PIRATE, Burgess says there are two keys to behavior management--engagement and rapport. He devotes a large (later) portion of the book to engagement techniques, so this chapter focuses on rapport. Here are some suggestions from the chapter for building rapport:
- Learn about your students' interests: favorite TV shows, movies, hobbies, etc.
- Connect your content to pop culture
- Look for hooks to your content in the paper or on the news
- Spend informal time with your students: host clubs, talk between classes, attend extra-curricular activities
How much time do you put into planning the beginning of school? Burgess outlines his first three days of school, which are specifically designed to build rapport. In his words:
"Nothing is more important to me than creating the proper atmosphere right from the start. No content standard matters to me until I have established the safe, supportive, and positive classroom environment I need to successfully teach my students."How could you argue that's not worth three days? Day 1 begins with a cryptic message, upbeat music, and Play-Doh. Yes, Play-Doh. In the midst of a fun and festive first day is a serious message--meanness will never be tolerated in this classroom. Day 2 brings an interesting role-playing experience that is introduced by Burgess flying around the room pretending to be an airplane. Day 3 is the hard sell--convincing students who have often failed in the past that they WILL be successful in this class.
This chapter really makes you stop and think about the lengths you are willing to go to connect to your students and set the stage for learning.
Here's my question...how much time do you spend at the beginning of the year building relationships? What are some of your tried and true techniques?