When students believe that their teachers have high expectations for them, they are also likely to be more engaged in school and report feeling like they belong at school. For example, students have a stronger sense of school belonging and higher levels of engagement in school when they believe that teachers think they can do well in school and have the ability to perform to their potential (e.g., “My teacher believes I can do well in class”).1
These skills can help students feel that teachers believe they can do well in school.
Let students know that you have confidence in their ability to succeed and expect them to produce quality work. Hold them accountable if they don’t put in the effort required to do well in class, but also let students know that you are their ally. Emphasize the positive wherever possible, reiterate your belief in their abilities, and be available to them as a resource.2
Consider sending home “postcards” with updates and reflections on students’ accomplishments. This approach not only shows students that you see and believe in their capabilities, but also serves as a way to connect with families.3
Ask students what they are or could be doing to contribute to their families and communities and have them set one personal goal for something they want to achieve (socially, civically, academically) during the semester or school year. Periodically check in on their progress.4
- Search Institute. Checklist: Building Developmental Relationships During the COVID-19 Crisis.
- Kiefer SM, Pennington S. Associations of teacher autonomy support and structure with young adolescents’ motivation, engagement, belonging, and achievement. Middle grades research journal. 2017;11(1).
- Taylor JC. Seven classroom structures that support student relationships. Published 2016.
- Chadband E. Setting a parent trap: What’s the most creative method you’ve used for engaging parents? Published 2020. Accessed September, 2020.
- Search Institute. Building developmental relationships during the COVID-19 crisis. Published 2020. Accessed September, 2020.