Why It’s Important to Build Relationships with Students in PE

[00:00]: On today’s podcast, I want to talk to you about the importance of building relationships with your students.

Get Intentional!

 [00:22]: When was the last time that you can recall that you were intentional about it, about getting to know one of your students? Now I’m not talking about playing some icebreaker games at the beginning of the school year. I want to know when the last time you made a conscious choice to get to know a student. You know, every child that walks through our gym doors each day has a story. You know, each story is unique and whether or not we know each child’s story is probably the least talked about aspect of teaching or of education in general. But I would argue that that’s the most important underlying factor that results in effective teaching. Because number one, we’re relational beings as humans we’re meant to thrive in community with other people. You know, we have these deep needs to feel valued, to have a sense of belonging, to be listened to, to be respected, to be loved and those are the things that each and every teacher has the power to give to students who are in their charge.

It’s About How Much You Care

[01:17]: When we look at teaching through that type of lens, I believe the whole perspective of the profession changes because nobody cares how much content knowledge you have. You know where your degree is from or what awards you’ve won. If you can’t connect with kids, you’re never going to be an effective educator.

"Nobody cares how much content knowledge you have, where your degree is from, or what awards you've won. If you can't connect with kids, you're never going to be an effective educator." – @PE4EveryKid #PhysEd Click To Tweet

You know that saying that kids don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. That same couldn’t be more spot on. I mean, kids are real keen to pick up on our attitudes and our moods and our words and our actions and those things speak volumes. So we better be admitting a joy and enthusiasm for our content area, but more importantly, we need to be genuine in our interactions with kids. And by genuine, I guess I just mean things like admitting when we make a mistake or stopping during that teachable moment in a lesson when you’d rather push on and we’re taking time to listen to student’s jokes. You know, I have kids that always want to tell me a joke you know, to listen to and really hear how their sporting event was or learn about their weekend plans. I mean, those types of things help create a culture of trust and of care and of rapport with the kids. And you know, even though you might not be privy to some of the painful things that they might be dealing with outside of school, you know, if we’ve been vigilant and building those connections, then those students know that they have a trusted adult to come to whenever they need it.

My Best Memory of Teaching

[02:44]: I think my best memory of teaching came in 2006. I believe I was 10 years into my teaching and I had three siblings, grades kindergarten, second and fourth that came up to me school one day while I was outside at bus duty and I could see them kind of all huddling and talking and they were, they were within earshot and they’re like you tell them, no you ask them, no, you know, you go and so I kind of wandered over by them and you know, one of them spit it, just spit it out. They just said, well, we think you should ask our mom out on a date. And of course, you know, that wasn’t, that was the last thing I thought I was going to hear. But you know, teaching elementary students, you never know what’s going to come out of their mouth. And it’s funny because last month in October 2019, their mom and I celebrated 12 years of marriage. So, you know, you never know the impact that you really have on kids. I tell you that story because you know, those kids felt such a connection to me and the kind of teacher, the kind of human being that I was, that they wanted me to be a part of their lives.Paragraph

[03:52]: You know, I can’t think of a much higher compliment and I believe it all goes back to how you treat kids. Do you place value on them? Do they feel safe, loved, appreciated, accepted, encouraged? You know, if you’re teaching in such a way that your focus is on the child over the content, then you’re doing it right and if not, then you need to re-examine your practice.

"If you’re teaching in such a way that your focus is on the child over the content, then you’re doing it right and if not, then you need to re-examine your practice." – PE4EveryKid #PhysEd Click To Tweet

I think that the moment students become a burden or a bother or just another kid, it’s, it’s time for me to exit the profession. You know, there’s a saying that goes, a bad doctor hurts one person at a time. A bad teacher hurts 25. Now apply that to us as physical educators. You know, a bad PE teacher could negatively impacting the entire school, hundreds at a time. So always remember the great responsibility that you’ve been entrusted with, other people’s children. There’s a story behind each and every one of them. If you’re willing to get down in their level and build that bridge to their heart.

A passionate presenter and teacher, Mike Graham has taught Physical Education since 1996 and currently works at Williamsburg Elementary School in Geneva, Illinois. He was named the 2019 Illinois AHPERD Elementary PE Teacher of the Year. He serves on various committees within his State organization and is the current President of the Northern District of IAHPERD. You can connect with Mike and find out more about his #PhysEd program on his website at www.pe4everykid.weebly.com or connect via Twitter: @pe4everykid

A passionate presenter and teacher, Mike Graham has taught Physical Education since 1996 and currently works at Williamsburg Elementary School in Geneva, Illinois. He was named the 2019 Illinois AHPERD Elementary PE Teacher of the Year. He serves on various committees within his State organization and is the current President of the Northern District of IAHPERD. You can connect with Mike and find out more about his #PhysEd program on his website at www.pe4everykid.weebly.com or connect via Twitter: @pe4everykid

1 COMMENT

  1. I love this♥️♥️‼️God has entrusted our children (our gifts) to us to lead n guide. Parents entrust their children to teachers n expect their littles to be taught n treated fairly. Michael you have definitely used your gifts n talents to the Best of your ability! I love how you intertwined a part of your story here!! Children want n need boundaries. They watch n listen intently ( even tho there are times you may think they don’t!) Children know MORE than we sometimes give them credit for. Well done 👏🏼♥️👏🏼♥️👏🏼

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