I have always been a strong believer that relationships are the number one key to a student’s success. With all the integration these days of technology in the classroom, and more and more schools moving to a one-to-one initiative with devices, does this mean that relationships will become less and less important in the classrooms of the near future?
Most of my teachers welcome technology into their classrooms, and they can’t wait to incorporate new ideas, new strategies, and/or new tools. However, one fear I have heard from more than one teacher with the technology push is: “So, my students are just going to be staring at a screen all day?” Although the activities we can and will have our students do on their devices will be beneficial and amazing, that will never replace the importance of the relationship between a teacher and his/her students. Teachers…have no fear. Just because we want to move to more technology-driven classrooms…it doesn’t mean that you have to give up talking and interacting with your students. The classrooms we will see in the near future are Blended classrooms. Classrooms that have a mix between technology and the interaction with a real, live teacher. A teacher who knows the background of the students. A teacher who knows what makes little Johnny tick, what sets little Johnny off, and what he/she needs to do to calm little Johnny down when he gets frustrated. The teacher that knows why little Sally is late to school every day, and why at the end of each day she cries because she doesn’t want to go home. These teachers still need to exist. The positive relationships these teachers build with their students will always be important and will always be the number one key to the students’ success.
We want our students to be more independent learners, especially in a more blended-learning classroom where students will be moving at their own pace with some of their learning. The relationship the teacher has with their students can be a building block in helping mold the students’ independence. In Teaching With Poverty in Mind, Eric Jensen writes, “Adults who build trusting, supportive relationships with low-SES students help foster the students’ independence and self-esteem…” (Jensen, p. 94). So just because we will be seeing more devices in our classrooms doesn’t mean that we may be interacting any less with our students. The relationships we create with are students will always be vital because students don’t learn from someone they hate, or from someone they think hates them. Students learn from teachers who support them, who praise them, and who show they genuinely care for them. Relationships matter!