Family in the Classroom: Building Relationships with Teachers


Elise Banks

Seeing a decorated classroom allows students to learn more about the teacher and connect with them, building a strong relationship with teachers.

In the weeks leading up to the first day of school, teachers work endlessly behind the scenes before students arrive at school. Although teachers work on lesson plans and other class activities, they also take time to design their classroom.

From the posters they put up, or the way they arrange their desks, most teachers are intentional about how they set up their space.

“I want the feel of my class to be comfortable, creative, and safe,” Ms. Hunter, English teacher, said.

Though some students may not notice, teachers try to have their classroom set up in a way that students feel comfortable to speak their minds and have creative freedom.

“I try to provide structure while also allowing for a fair amount of silliness. I think the balance of those two things is critical to creating a good, safe learning environment for students,” Hunter said.

Although teachers put a lot of thought into their classroom, student input can change the way teachers see their own space.

Sophomore Jamyra Dent has certain things she likes to see in the classroom that make her feel more comfortable and less stressed at school.

“A cool vibe in a classroom is a must for me personally,” she said. “I really like LED lights or the lights off with the natural light coming in.”

Things such as flexible seating, funny pictures, and color changing lights allow students to connect with their teachers on a different level.

“For students who have had me in class or teachers who have been in my classroom for meetings, etc., they know that there is student art and student pictures everywhere,” Hunter said.

It can be a little overwhelming to look at, but I view it as ‘Grandma’s fridge’ in certain ways – the place where you hang up that paper that you’re super proud of or that picture of you all dressed up for prom.”

— Ms. Hunter

The way a classroom is designed can spark conversations with students and teachers that allow them to connect with each other on a more personal level.

Sophomore Sarai Gregory admires the pictures and artwork displayed on Ms. Hunter’s walls.

“Sometimes when I look around, I see random stuff which is funny, or I’ll see baby pictures which is kind of weird… but really cute,” Gregory said.

By teachers being intentional about the set up of their classroom and their relationships with their students, they create a type of family dynamic in the classroom.

“I’m cool with most people in the classroom but I really like how Ms. Hunter and Ms. Radican are cool and make some things personal for me,” Dent said.

Intentionality in the classroom has a positive effect on students and can make learning more engaging.

“Usually for me, when a classroom is decorated well or like really colorful, I tend to feel more comfortable and more willing to talk in class,” Gregory said.

Students walk in and out of the classroom every day, and while some may not notice the little changes teachers make to have a family dynamic, they affect all students, whether they realize it or not.