How to Develop Positive Teacher-Student Relationships

What type of teacher-student relationship did you have with your teachers through your educational years? Hopefully, you are one of the lucky people that had a teacher or teachers, that took the time to build a relationship with you. Research shows that building a positive teacher-student relationship in the classroom is important because students’ academics improve, it reduces behavior issues and it can help reduce chronic absenteeism.

After the parents, a child’s teacher is on the front lines for his/her development and academic success (Ulug, Ozden, & Eryilmaz, 2011).

By showing positive interactions, teachers are building positive relationships. When a teacher gives positive feedback, the student’s brain releases dopamine, the student is then motivated to continue to feel it and spends more time and attention working on that skill (Kaufman, n.d.). This skill will then build self-motivation in the student and set up a positive learning school environment for them. When a student is in, what they feel like, a positive learning environment, they will then be interested in their work, which will lead to developing a love of learning that they will benefit from for the rest of their lives (Waterford.

org, 2019).

There are several different ways to create a positive teacher-student relationship that will help with academic achievements. As teachers instruct new information, students could have a hard time understanding that information. Asking the students about their interests can help the teacher connect the new information to the student and can make the learning easier for them (Kaufman, n.

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d.), as well as letting the student know that you are interested in learning more about them. Another way is by creating a relaxed atmosphere in the classroom. A teacher can do this by simply having a relaxed body in the classroom, smiling at their students, or creating a special handshake. Using something as simple as a non-verbal action can help improve the learning experience for their students (Ulug, Ozden, & Eryilmaz, 2011). A teacher could also build a positive teacher-student relationship just by showing up with a positive attitude. A teacher’s positive attitude affects the student’s attitude towards their schoolwork and self-confidence (Ulug, Ozden, & Eryilmaz, 2011).

Wang & Haertel (n.d.) conducted a research of 353 students from two different universities on the effects of positive and negative attitudes and behaviors on the performance of students, 91.2% believed a positive attitude increased academic performance. In the same research, 75.4% of the students stated that the negative attitude of the teacher lowered academic performance. Research shows, that a positive teacher-student relationship improves a student’s academic success.

When students don’t feel as though they are in a safe learning environment, they are more apt to avoid assignments, yell out threats, and act out physically and aggressively. This can not only make for a rough year for the teacher and student, but for the other students in the class as well. When the threat-detection system in the brain is active, learning cannot happen (Kaufman, n.d.) for anyone involved. Building a positive teacher-student relationship, can help with behaviors within the classroom and better the learning experience for the class, as well as make teaching easier for the teacher.

There are several different ways to create a positive teacher-student relationship which will help with behavior achievement as well as academic achievements. A teacher can help by reassuring the student that certain skills are difficult and it’s Ok if they answered incorrectly, the effort matters (Kaufman, n.d.). This way, the student doesn’t feel like a failure, which could cause the student to act out, shut down, or refuse, and will continue to try and give their all. Another way to build a teacher-student relationship to help with behavior is by showing your students that you care about them. Boynton & Boynton (2005) wrote “Caring also fosters a preventive approach to discipline, as students who feel cared for are more likely to want to please you by complying with your wishes and policies” (p. 19). Along with showing the students that you care for them, show them that you respect them. Students value respect and in return, they will typically respect you and your classroom (Harmon, 2017). If a teacher communicates to their students that they have the ability to do well, the students will then work hard to improve their behavior, to show the teacher that the confidence in them is justified (Boynton & Boynton, 2005). As a teacher, you have the opportunity to communicate and show the students, on a daily basis, that you respect and believe in them, which will help build that confidence in themselves.

Building a positive teacher-student relationship with the students is one of the most important steps a teacher can take to improve the positive behavior in the classroom. When the students appreciate and like you, they are more likely to want to please you, which causes them to behave better in the classroom (Boynton & Boynton, 2005). Once the students are able to behave in the classroom, they will then be able to reach their academic goals and can reduce failing grades and the need for redirection (, 2019).

Early high school is when students decide whether they are dedicated to graduating or decide they are going to drop out. This decision is influenced by their academic achievements in their elementary years (Gallagher, n.d.). Students who are chronically absent in their early elementary years are more likely to fall behind and are four times more likely to drop out of high school (U.S. Department of Education, 2019). Building a positive teacher-student relationship in the early stages of school could help motivate students to attend school and help them succeed to graduate.

Just like academics and behaviors, there are many different ways to create a positive teacher-student relationship to help with absenteeism. Creating a personal connection with your students can help raise their intrinsic motivation to learn (, n.d.) and will keep your students wanting to come back. This can be done by creating a personal greeting every morning as they enter through the door and/or as they leave for the day. This simple step can influence your students to keep coming back and not acquire many absences. When a positive teacher-student relationship is built, classrooms become supportive spaces (Gallagher, n.d.). When the classroom is a positive and supportive space, students seem to enjoy coming to school. Something as simple as assigning jobs in your classroom, such as handing out papers, office runner, and sharpening pencils, can give the students a positive and supportive role in the classroom and keep their motivation on attending school. If they’re not going to be at school, who will do their job?

Building a positive teacher-student relationship with the students is one of the most important steps a teacher can take to improve student’s attendance in school. High school dropouts, which are usually chronically absent students, has been linked to poor outcomes later in life (U.S. Department of Education, 2019). If teachers can build that teacher-student relationship, early in the elementary school years, the students will be more likely to create similar connections in the future (, n.d.). Not only in school, but also in the career field as adults.

Having a positive teacher-student relationship means creating a comfortable, trusting, and encouraging learning environment. When a student is comfortable and trusts you, they will achieve academically, act appropriately, and attend school as they should. All of the ideas that are listed above, will not only help with that specific achievement, but with all of the achievements. Learning about your student, will not only help with academic achievements, but it will also help with behavior and absenteeism. Showing the students that you care about them, won’t only help with their behavior but also academics and absenteeism. Creating a personal connection with your students, won’t only help with absenteeism but also academics and behavior issues. Creating a positive teacher-student relationship is one of the longest-lasting ways a teacher can set a student up for career success (, 2019).

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How to Develop Positive Teacher-Student Relationships. (2020, Nov 15). Retrieved from

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