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How to Build Instant Rapport with Students

Updated: Dec 3, 2020

Anxiety. Fear of the unknown. Pressure. Trying to make a good impression. These are all things that run through a students head when they first meet a new tutor. It’s very important to establish a good working relationship with your students as soon as possible to help put them at ease. Below are my top 5 tips on how to build rapport with your students.

1. Start before any learning takes place

Normally when I first meet a student, the first thing I will do (before any learning takes place) is spend a little time getting to know them. After all, you are going to be working with them for some time. You never get a second chance to make a good first impression. You want to let them know that although you are a professional and here to teach, that you’re still a human being and care.

I often informally begin by asking students about their favourite subjects & if they have any hobbies. I also ask if they have a favourite teacher and what they plan to do when they leave school.

2. Small talk has its place

I generally dislike small-talk, however rapport can grow much faster if you can utilise it effectively. The small gaps you have just before the lesson starts, just before you leave, while files are loading etc. Now that you know a little more about your students hobbies, interests and ambitions, you can use them to help motivate, inspire and captivate them.

Try to bridge the gap between the work that they’re doing & their greater goals and help them see the bigger picture. This will not only make them feel heard and understood by you, but will help them to see the bigger picture when they feel frustrated or bored.

3. Try to relate your content to current affairs

I’m sure you’ve had a student ask you in the past why they have to learn about a particular topic, when there is a 0.1% chance that they will need to use that particular knowledge in their life. I always relish opportunities to

link what you’re learning with what’s happening in the world, as it helps counter some of these concerns.

Recently, I was teaching Biology and we were examining different types of Pathogen and my student and I got into a detailed discussion on Covid-19 and the pandemic. We discussed pandemics, epidemics and endemics. We looked at mutations and why Covid wasn’t able to be treated with antibiotics. We talked about how it spread so widely and briefly even spoke and debated the efficacy of the government’s response & policies in order to reduce the spread.

4. Let them know you’re on their side

You should try to get across to your student that you are on the same team. That it’s a partnership. That you’re both working towards the same aim; their success. I often meet students who have antagonistic relationships with their school-teachers. They feel that they are too strict, that they don’t care and that they dislike them. This can severely negatively impact a student’s confidence and reduce motivation and in turn lead to poor results.

You don’t have to be your student’s best friend, but you can show them that you are on their side and that you’re in this together. Even if no one else is. Especially if no one else is.

5. Cultivate a mindset of reaching for the stars

The greater the challenge, the greater the reward. Encourage your students to seek out questions that stretch and challenge them. Questions which make them think and exercise all of their mental faculties. One doesn’t (or shouldn’t) get much satisfaction from answering easy questions. In all honesty, most students find questions that are too simple boring anyway!

Follow these steps and your students will look await your sessions with eager anticipation, and enjoy their time with you to the fullest whilst at the same time advancing in the pursuit of their educational goals. I love meeting new students and building strong working relationships with them (you can learn more about me here).

Contact me now to see how I can help your child achieve their dreams and reach their full potential.

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