Harmon Avenue Parking Facility
146 N. Harmon Avenue
Fayetteville, AR 72701

Lori L. Libbert
Special Events Manager

P: 479-575-3222
F: 479-575-7086

Establishing Working Relationships with Students

How can I establish a productive working relationship with students?

Have you ever noticed that students will choose where they sit for the whole term on the first day? Whatever seat they happen to sit in they gravitate toward again and again. The same kind of patterning happens with every classroom behavior. On the first day students decide how and to what extent they will participate, so use this time to establish an interactive, productive environment. Everything you will expect of your students over the course of the term — writing, analyzing text, speaking, group work, etc. — you should have them do (at least in part) during your first meeting.

Don't begin by reading the syllabus. Spend some time talking about your interest in the class and theirs.

Foster community: Make students feel comfortable and welcome by arriving early and greeting students as they enter. Have your name and the name of the class on the board. Learn their names as early as possible.

Patterning begins on the first day, so make the expectations and roles clear: If you expect them to speak in class, to write in class, to engage in small group discussion, ask them to do these things on the first day.

Pull the curtains on the wizard. Explain why you chose this content and structure for the course: Why are the readings important? How do they connect? Why did you choose this format for testing?