For all of us school became an important part of our lives. This is not surprising at all: when you attend school for ten years, you feel like this is your real home. Or maybe not. Some children are very lucky because they can say that they truly love to study and are happy to attend classes every single day (or almost every single day). However, this group of students is not as big as we all want it to be. Unfortunately, there are always kids that skip classes and prefer to spend their school hours with other unhappy students, lie to their parents, and have conflicts with teachers. There are a lot of reasons why children might be not satisfied with their school. One of them – and this reason is extremely serious – is that they do not feel safe and comfortable in the classroom.
A very important goal of every teacher is to make sure that he or she does everything possible to create a friendly and a welcoming environment in the classroom. A teacher should be respectful and should treat everybody as individuality. A teacher also needs to make the classroom where he or she is teaching nice and cozy. Students do not want a gloomy classroom – they need to feel comfortable. Teachers also need to keep in mind that a lot of students study with the same people for ten years. What teachers should do in this case is to help these children become friends.
A class as a fixed group of people
There are schools where transferring students from one class to another is a common practice. We understand that quite often this happens to get all good, leading students in one class so that they could develop their skills without looking back; and to get weaker students with a lower level of adaptation in another class to make them feel safer and to pay closer attention to their academic and personal issues. This practice might be good, but if this happens too often, children do not have a chance to get to know each other too well. As a result we have unfriendly classes where students do not really care about each other. When children study together from the very beginning, and their class does not change radically, they find it easier to become friends.
A trip to far-far away
Not too far, obviously, but it is a great idea to organize some activity that will last not only for a couple of hours, but for the entire day. This can be a picnic in some beautiful park which is two hours away from your home town. This can be a trip to another city that will take more than one day. Anything that you and children’s parents will find appropriate (for senior classes it would be even better to go without parents to feel more comfortable). Trips and picnics always help children get closer. They might be reluctant to communicate at first, but you will see that the further they are from home and from school and the more abstract all these things get, the easier it is for them to talk to each other and to make jokes and just to have fun. A teacher should not be judgmental in this case – on the contrary, you should let your students feel that they have more freedom than in the classroom. If you have a picnic, make sure you have a lunch together and nobody is missing. Children share food with each other, talk and laugh a lot, and this is impressive how their attitude to their classmates changes. Create new memories together with your students – happy memories – and this will help you create a happy friendly class.
Or lose together. In this case it does not really matter. Students should participate in various sports activities as often as possible. Different games and contests are designed for team work and collaboration. In order to win and get the prize your students will forget all their conflicts and will become one huge team that has a common goal. If they lose, they lose, but at least they will know that they have tried and done their best. All that matters is that they have fun together and they help each other to achieve the goal.
Spend time together
It is as simple as it seems. You should spend more time with your students. You can watch movies together or go to the theatre. You can organize school parties and invite all the students from your class. You could also just sit down with your students and start some interesting debate. When children have common topics of discussion, they feel much closer. Of course, it is hard for a computer games geek and a ballerina find topics for conversation, but if you give them one, they will be more likely to start a conversation.
Making a friendly and a happy class is an extremely hard work. But this is not impossible. If you see potential in your students and realize that all of them are children that just want to make friends, to be heard and understood and to have some fun, you will easily find ways to make them become closer and spend more time together outside the classroom. Show them your enthusiasm. Create many bright and happy memories together.