Too busy to connect with your students? Then slow down!

Too busy to connect with students?

Then slow down!

I recently realised that when my kids ask me to do something, I often say “I just need to (fill in the blank here of something that’s keeping me busy at that exact moment). “

Now in the scheme of things that’s fine - everyone is busy and parents know that there’s never enough time in the day! But when I realised just how much I say that, I started thinking about the fact that it’s actually really important to me to spend time playing with my kids. Typically this is what my kids want most from me - time to play and connect.

So, yesterday, when I caught myself saying the words, I put off whatever I was doing and instead went and jumped around on the trampoline with them! For the record, this was way more fun than what I was doing (putting the lawn mower away from memory). Afterward I felt energised and connected with the kids. I then got on with finishing the mowing!

This got me thinking about how hard it can be to have enough time for kids when we are teaching in class. Often we feel so pressured by the demands of the curriculum and the need to ‘get through things’ that we forget to prioritise what our students want - a sense of connection with their teacher. Time and again research has shown the importance of this connectivity for the students wellbeing and capacity to learn.

So, here’s three tips I’ve found helpful in making time for students when you feel like you haven’t even got time to stop for lunch that day!

  1. Slow down

    If everything doesn’t get done that day, that’s OK - there’s always tomorrow.

  2. Remind yourself that students want to connect with you

    Simply actively making an effort to remember how much students want to connect with you will help it to rise to the top of your mind in the priority list.

  3. Remind yourself that HEAPS OF RESEARCH shows the importance of relationship in effective learning!

    If your goal is good relationships, then make the time for them. If your goal is effective learning, positive relationships are crucial to enable this. So both ways you win!

Over the next few weeks I’m planning to search out some good research on this matter. Keep your eye out for more to come on this topic.

And let me know - what are your top tips for connecting with your students when you feel busy? Let me know in the comments section of the blog.