To form strong relationships, we must know that others care about us and communicate to them that we care for them. This takes time and work. In the limited time we have in school days, we must form relationships with our colleagues, supervisors and perhaps, most importantly, with each and every one of our students.
I was visiting my parents for the holidays and went with my mom to volunteer at a community service she does with some other men and women from our town. Service to others has always been a part of our life, from when I was a little girl tagging along with my mother, to attending WV Wesleyan and working summer camps for students from underprivileged backgrounds. So when my mom suggested I tag along and pitch in, I jumped right in.
Not 10 minutes after we arrived I saw the power of relationships – these men and women all live in our same small town where I grew up. They attend different denominations of church, work in different fields and come together to provide a needed service. One of the ladies said to me that she remembered when I was little and would come into the bank. 🙂 Then in came teachers from when I was in elementary school – one of the 2nd grade teachers (I was in another class) and my 5th grade teacher!
Here we are – all these years ago (it’s nearly 2o years since I graduated from high school) and these ladies knew me when I was in 2nd and 5th grade. It was wonderful to catch up and see how they were doing and share what adventures I’ve had since leaving home all those years ago.
Those relationships they built with me, when I was 7 and 10 years old have stuck with me (and them) all these years later. Honestly, my 4th, 5th and 6th grade teachers were some of the most influential I had. I wonder if it’s a surprise that those were my favorite grades to teach? And catching up with these ladies on Saturday reminded me how much those relationships matter.
What are we doing each day to form these relationships with our students and colleagues? 30 years from now, will they be excited to run into you in the community?