With each passing academic year, it gets harder and harder to ‘keep up’ with students. They’re getting younger, you’re getting older, and then all of a sudden it hits you: you aren’t down with the kids any more

No matter how long you’ve been a teacher, fear not, as there are ways to roll back the years and forge meaningful connections with your students once again.

To find three ways you can better connect with your students, read on.

Establish some common ground

By establishing some common ground with your latest batch of students, you’ll find it much easier to connect with them going forward. This is because they won’t just see you as a boring, out-of-touch teacher who they can’t talk to — they’ll see you as a person who they can actually share an interesting conversation with. So long as you know where to toe the line between teaching and chatting in the classroom, you’ll be able to use this common ground as a platform from which to grow the relationships that you share with your students

Fortunately, establishing common ground with your students isn’t going to prove to be a difficult or time-consuming task. All you need to do in this instance is ask them what TV shows they watch, what video games they play, and what sports they love… and then watch or play 

Try something different

If your students enter your classroom expecting to be bored out of their brains for the duration of your lessons, they aren’t going to feel enthused to communicate with you. Once this flow of communication shuts down, you students will start shunning your efforts as you attempt to forge connections with them, ultimately resulting in there being a clear and unhealthy divide between you and them.

Not every lesson and subject matter can be fun and entertaining, of course, but simply trying something different will go a long way in helping you to combat boredom. In your attempt to freshen up your teaching style, be sure to consider the power of the concept map; this high-impact teaching strategy will see you convey your information visually rather than verbally, ultimately resulting in you forcing your students to remain engaged and more open to the idea of connecting with you

Show an interest in their lives

Every now and again your students will tell you little things about their lives. You’ll hear things like ‘I’ve got soccer practice this evening’ and ‘It’s my birthday tomorrow.’ If you truly want to connect with your students, you need to remember all of these little tidbits of information and then comment on them at a later date. Ask things like: ’How was soccer practice?’ and ‘Did you get anything nice for your birthday?’ It might not seem like much, but your students will be sure to appreciate the extra effort that you make when you communicate with them in this manner.

Take the above advice, and you’ll be forging better connections with your students in no time.