Personal perspectives

How to forge a positive relationship in half an hour

Three minutes
Nick Spinks Wednesday, April 15th, 2015

There’s so much more to being a teacher than running a classroom.

There’s planning sessions, staff meetings and phone calls with parents amongst a litany of other activities.

There’s none more enjoyable than spending a lunchtime playing a bit of cricket or kicking the footy with students, whilst on yard duty.

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A great day was had with a group of Year 8 boys last year as we battled to win the Western Victoria Super 8s Cricket Competition.

Good for the soul

Many a time, I’ve found lunchtimes in the yard with the kids to be one of the most effective strategies for sustaining my wellbeing.

After a challenging double period with a senior Maths class, I can comfort myself in the fact that even just for half an hour, I can get out into the sun, take in the fresh air and enjoy a kick of the footy with a bunch of enthusiastic Year 7 boys and girls.

Even though the time may be fleeting, working on my torpedo kick and offering a one-two handball with a student certainly steels my resolve to get back into the classroom after lunch.

Connect with your students

So much of teaching is about building relationships with students; there’d be no point coming to school each day if you weren’t passionate about getting to know your students and helping them achieve.

Whilst a strong student-teacher relationship can be forged within the classroom, it’s outdoors where the relationship is more authentic.

Much like on an outdoor camp, students will enthusiastically banter about their favourite football teams over a game of Markers Up or Hit-and-Run cricket.

They’ll mock my choice of players to fill my SuperCoach team and debate the continued place of Shane Watson in the Australia XI.

Over time, as the relationship is forged, you recognise one another as human. The students will often open up and talk about their experiences at school or their hopes for the future.

Without much solicitation, you learn more about your students in a lunchtime than you do by reading all their school reports.

Students who have a reputation for causing trouble suddenly become just another kid, with their own unique past and limitless future.

Spending a lunchtime playing sports with students carries the risk of embarrassment if you can’t kick on your wrong foot or deal with an in-swinging yorker. Still, the opportunities that come from it are endless.

Now matter how long I teach for, it will always be one of my favourite parts of the job.

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