How to Build Rapport With Secondary Students – Classroom Control Strategy
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How to Build Rapport With Secondary Students – Classroom Control Strategy


Hey, everyone, it’s James, and I’m creating this video in response to a video that I came across on my Facebook timeline involving classroom management. So I’m going to share clip of the video right now. [Teacher attempting to quiet a noisy classroom]. So I thought this video was a little bit funny based just on my years of experience because I’m sure many veteran teachers have had at least one class – well, I actuall I have a class like this right now; my last period of the day. Um every Tuesday, Thursday. They drive me a little bit bonkers, but it’s one of these classes where you have to put a lot of time effort and energy into getting them to settle down and refocus back on what you want them to do. Now, as I was scrolling through the comments section of this particular video, I noticed that there were many people who, whether they are about to embark on their teaching profession or people who are actually teachers right now, mid-year, they were asking for strategies to deal with the situation like this. Now, the video was really really exaggerated; however, I can remember my very first year teaching, I had a class like this. They were 10th graders and many students in that class knew each other and I remember the first day of school like students are throwing things across the room and they were like shouting and it was really, really loud and I just remember thinking, “OH MY GOD… like…this… cannot be…my class for the remainder of the year; like I don’t think I’d be able to make it. And I remember that Friday, the end of the week, the assistant principal came in – much bigger guy that I am and like, he was shouting at the students. The students were shouting at him and I’m like I don’t think I’m gonna be able to make it. But one of the things that I was able to do successfully and one of my strengths is building rapport with students. So i quickly memorized their names and one of the ways that I did this was, I take pictures of my classroom, of my students in action and I like to post them around my room and outside my room so that way people when they visit my classroom if we just happen to be taking notes that can look around and see all the things that we’ve done when they have not been there. And it’s just a great memory for my students to see. So memorizing the names as quickly as possible so as I said taking pictures and then over the weekend of that first week I will study the pictures like crazy and memorize the name so that when they come in the following week i’m already at the door greeting them by there name. Hey, you know, hey James are you doing? Oh, I like those shoes, blah, blah, blah. One of the other things that I just said is because I take pictures and I post them around the room students like that and it builds a sense of community for my classroom. So, they really enjoy seeing themselves in action and learning and so that has helped me establish a very positive environment in my classroom. The next thing that I would say is to meet the students where they’re at. So one of the things that I will do is I won’t wait for students to come to me for tutoring I will go find them. So, if i see students out in the courtyard or in the cafeteria and it’s like seven o’clock in the morning and they’re there when I’m there ok let’s go to my room, or if it’s something that i can quickly do without like any, you know, paper or a periodic table because I teach science, I will sit down where they’re at and I will tutor them 1-on-1, or I’ll give some explanations or I’ll have them pull out their notebook and will write down on a piece of paper and I can explain to them right there. Many of my students have told me that they have appreciated the fact that I went out of my way to help them and oftentimes, those students after a couple of sessions they will come to my classroom on their own without me having to go find them or put them when I see them. Now some teachers may, may not agree with that. I remember one time as the science specialist I was doing the PD and I shared that and one of the teachers like, “I’m not doing that”. Ok, again it’s a strategy that I’m sharing a strategy that I use teaching at a high-needs campus where students have gaps in their learning and I’m trying to teach them either biology chemistry and they’re struggling but it was a way for me to build rapport, so that way in a situation like you saw in the video when I need them to refocus they’re more willing to do that because they know that I really care about their success and so when they hear me saying, “Ladies and gentlemen. I need for you to refocus on me,” they’re more willing to do that. Another thing that I will say that I utilize is using my conference period so we all have a confer-, well, hopefully we all have a conference period – that you can use to go to another class period that they’re in and pull them out. Now, I will say that you want to make sure that you contact the teacher ahead of time to let them know, “hey, would it be okay for me to pull James out of the classroom and speak with him for about two minutes.” And when I, when I’ve done this in the past, I don’t just start off with negative. I will start off with some positive things and then I wll then go to, “hey, you know a lot of times when i try to get the attention of the class, one of the things that I noticed is that you’re talking while I’m trying to get instructions; so one of the things that I need for you to do within the first five seconds, I need for you to calm yourself and refocus, so that way I can give the instructions and then if it is appropriate then you can go back to talking so long as though you’re doing your work”. I found that those conversations, those one-on-one conversations with students has helped. Another thing that I’ve done is I…I’ve pulled groups of students all out at the same time. So if I know if there’s a small group of students that tend to investigate the entire class and get them riled up I’ll pull all…let’s say, for example, all five students, “I need all five of you to go out in the hallway”. Same thing…”you guys aren’t in trouble, however, I need for you all to help me understand because i’m trying to provide instructions to help you all be successful but you all continuing to talk while I’m talking. So if some…one of you can help me understand that, that would be great. A lot of times they just look down at the ground because they know that they’re wrong and also because I’ve built that rapport, it hits a little bit or it stings a little bit more for them because they know that they shouldn’t be doing and I have that relationship with them so that way when I do sort of lay in to them. I do it like in a very calm way. I don’t have to shout at the students to get my point across. I can do it very calmly, succinctly…get my point across. Let them know that I’m disappointed in their behavior…have them go back into the classroom. So don’t be afraid to send a student outside, or to send a couple students outside but you want to make sure that you immediately go behind them and have that discussion with them while the other students… you’ve said, “okay, I need for you [class] to do this next problem and I’ll be right back”. Another thing that you can do is visit them during their…not visit them…go to their…any games or concerts that they may be a part of in terms of extracurricular activities. A lot of students…that will be another way that you can build rapport with your students is by attending a game. Now, you don’t go to every single game. Go to one or two and students would definitely appreciate that because it shows that you’re interested in them beyond just the classroom. Another thing that I do is I like to play music in my class. Different types of genres, different types of decades. It could be soundtrack music. It can be nature, ambient music. But the students tend to like that music…or like the idea that I play music in class and that gets them focused when they’re doing an activity and then when I need to call them, I just lower the music I say, “Ladies and gentlemen, can I have your attention real quick”. And they will refocus. So I think, as far as all the strategies, I think that’s it. I don’t think I’ve left anything out. Oh, I didn’t leave one thing out. The most important thing. Now in the video this teacher used a whole bunch of different class signals. You want to make sure as with any of your expectations and policies, is that you are consistent. So… in my case, my classroom signal is: Ladies and Gentlemen. I teach high school and so, Ladies and Gentlemen, I say that and I use a more raised tone when I’m saying it to the class, or projected tone, when I’m saying this is the class. A lot of times they know within five seconds they need to quiet down and refocus. I don’t talk while they’re talking because it gives off the perception that what you have to say is not important. Like if the teacher is not stopping me and I am continuing to talk while he or she is talking, well…why should I even care. They don’t care. Right? So you want to make sure that you’re consistent in whatever signal that you try to utilize. That you consistently enforce it and that way you pull any students that are not following that signal, you pull them out and you have that discussion. So, whether you pull a group of students out at the same time or you visit them one-on-on; whether it’s out in the courtyard or during a conference period, that you let students know that when they hear that class signal that they need to stop what they’re doing and they need to refocus. Hopefully if there’s at least one thing in this video that you liked, or resonated with you; so if there was, then make sure to hit that LIKE button and if you haven’t already done so make sure to subscribe so that way you can Bond with James. As always, thanks for watching!

About James Carlton

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35 thoughts on “How to Build Rapport With Secondary Students – Classroom Control Strategy

  1. Hey man so glad I found your channel! I'm also a HS school teacher & youtuber, I totally believe in having those side conversations with students to handle classroom management. Building those relationships is a must!!

  2. I am so glad I found your channel. I love teaching channels and I especially like seeing how secondary teachers handle their day and I love seeing their ideas. I teach elementary school, however. I also do youtube and have a channel. I find that building a report with your students is key!

    I am subscribing to your channel. I am excited to see what else you will put up:)

  3. This was music to my ears while listening to this. Thank you for sharing your positive rapport that you create with your students. It's so fab to hear this coming from a higher level too. Keep rocking James!! ((Hugs)) and Blessings

  4. G'day James, I just found your channel! I am also a YouTuber high school teacher; teaching English in Australia 🇦🇺. I'm excited to find another HS teacher on YouTube. Great tips on this video 👍🏼Looking forward to more of your videos.

  5. James, thank you so much for this very comprehensive and well thought out video. This is something that I have experienced over the years and I have success with the exact same ideas you presented.
    My big question for you is: how do you deal with students who are distracted by their cell phones. I am struggling with this. I have used many of the same manners (talk to them individually during class or in the hall; talked to see if they are distracted due to not understanding the lesson; talked with a parent who was contacting their child via text during my class before lunch and at the end of the day, etc.). I find that the students are feeling, culturally, they NEED to remain in touch. If they are not responding "post haste" then they are essentially "subbing" the sender. Conversely, if I use the phones in class for research or survey/quiz (an admin "voluntold" way to use tech in the class), then they see this as a free time to text away (and this is more difficult to monitor). I find that my approach to this issue has been flexing from strict to lax b/c I can't figure out the best way to handle this yet. Any ideas of strategies?

  6. btw – HS teacher and wannabe YouTuber. So glad I found you….oddly enough I am supposed to be planning, and I found myself off track and enjoying fully your vids. Keep up the great work James.

  7. One of my more memorable high school teachers used to always signal with, "Fellow Humans, eyes and ears on me, please."

    I don't know if it was that he was sub-consciously equating himself with the students on the same value level, or that it was just so different from other teachers, but he could grab an unruly class almost instantly every day.

    25 years later and I can still hear his voice in my head every time I think about it.

  8. You have earned new subsciber! Great videos and ideas. I'm in a master's+credential program for high school English. Do you have any advice for substituting? Thanks again!

  9. Thanks for the tips. I am 5 weeks into my first ever year of teaching and I am struggling with a 10th grade class that just cannot seem to stop talking. I will be trying some of these strategies starting Monday! I think I started out too soft and now they are taking advantage of me. Its a difficult thing to correct but at least we are on Block Schedule so I get a whole new group in January!!

  10. Thank you for this video, I am first year teacher that took a job after school already started and it's been so difficult on the classroom management side. I will use several ideas here.

  11. I'm entering my first teaching placement tomorrow & I love the tips and tricks that you had to offer! I was hesitant about one of my Intro activities because it felt a little cheesy (ahah) but you saying that the kids like seeing photos of themselves up because it creates a sort of community was really reassuring! Thank you 😊

  12. Thank you! I’m so glad I found your channel. I’m currently about to enter my first semester of student teaching for high school- which is a little nerve wrecking since I’m in my early twenties. This video is especially helpful, because I feel like these strategies will help my future students relate and respect me- despite the fact that I’m young.

  13. any recommendations for substitute teachers? it's hard to build a rapport if ur only there for one day especially middle or high school, then u only have every group one hr. some class periods can totally drain you. :/

  14. literally i cried yesterday when i went back home because of my students
    😦😫😫
    I am only 21
    it is my first year teaching
    i cant do it anymore

  15. That a huge challenge I think I’m going to face this one day btw I’m a third year student of Science Education in Thai land. I love your video and I hope I could be a good teacher science like you. 👍🏻👍🏻

  16. Great channel and great video! Getting challenging classes on track is never easy. I love that you talked about building rapport first. That is so key. I talk about this type of content all the time in my workshops. Cheers🤙🏽

  17. Perfection is not even the word to describe the timing of my coming across of this video!

    I am a primary school teacher who has randomly been offered half a term to relieve highschool next month and I have felt so overwhelmed and anxious with crazy, made up disaster scenarios in my head.

    Thank you for the breath of fresh air and confidence x

  18. My English 2 class is rude and disrespectful. The teacher has been taking it out on everybody. Me and a handful of students are doing great and don’t have any problems because we listen, but recently it’s been very disruptive. I want to express this to my English teacher, but I fear she may assume I’m judging her teaching methods.

  19. Thank you for the video! It really does help to know that others experience the same trials within the classroom. Your techniques are full of transparency and reality. Thanks from Florida!

  20. As a high school teacher as well, I can totally relate to disruptive classes. My favourite is building those relationships and genuinely showing that you care; students really appreciate it. And having those 1:1 conversations outside the classroom is a total game changer as a lot of them are acting our in front of their peers or not even aware of what they're doing. [side note; I also have that book in the back; love it!]

  21. James as a teacher with 35 years off experience, I switched to a different school and all my techniques that I used previous have not worked. Your ideas are fresh and innovative! Thank you for the time and effort you put in as a teacher and youtuber!

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