So, as we approach August and the beginnings of school years, I'd like to offer some concrete suggestions on how to build relationships with your students.
1. Treat your students like people.
Because, you know, they are people. They have hopes and dreams and ambitions and things that make them grin and others that make them want to punch something. Even if they are smaller and less mature and really don't think that Shakespeare is all that important, thank-you-very-much, it is so important to not lose sight of everyone's humanity.
2. Talk to them.
Because, you know, they are people. And people like to talk, or be talked with, to be asked how they're doing when they're obviously bummed out or excited. Believe it or not, conversation with kids is a lot more important than, say, Shakespeare. (And of course Shakespeare acquired his ear for language and cadence of speech by Listening To People.)
And really, that's the whole list. I was going to do a long, elaborate bunch of commentaries and lots of concrete advice, but really, it all comes down to those two things. Treat your students like people. Talk to them.