I think most adults think it’s hard to build a relationship with a student. They think students are totally different from them and they can’t understand their world. I don’t really buy into this though. I think students have real needs, and if you can meet those needs, you can have a transformational relationship with them. The key to understanding those needs is what I like to call the cries of their heart. The four cries of a student’s heart are:
1. Spend Time With Me
Students know that your time is valuable, so when you give them your time, they know they are valuable to you. When students know you value them, they are willing to open their hearts to you. Here are some practical ways to spend time with students:
• Take them places you are going.
• Go to their activities, for example: plays, sporting events and musical performances .
• Hang-out where they hang-out.
2. Discover Me
Students have a favorite subject and it’s them. Not many people want to talk about their favorite subject, so if you spend time asking them questions about themselves, they will be your friend forever. Here are a couple of question to ask them:
• What is your favorite movie, song or book?
• What are your dreams, goals and fears?
• Who do you like? (This may seem awkward, but few people actually ask them this question.)
3. Connect With Me
Students have hobbies, interests and activities that they love. Some of these activities are the same things you love. Find common interests and bond over them. You may like the same sports teams, hobbies or cooking. When you discover something you connect on, plan a time to get together and do the activities together. Through a shared experience, you will create a bond that will last.
4. Pursue Me
Students want to know that you will not quit on them. Many adults in their lives have left them and they don’t want to be treated that way. By pursuing them, you are demonstrating how much you care, so write notes (the best are the ones that come in the mail), make phone calls, text and ask to have coffee. All of this will communicate that you are different and that you care.
If you understand the four cries of a students heart, you can build a transformational relationship with them.