Teacher Caring and Support

Students who believe their teachers build strong, positive relationships with them and show that they care about them report feeling higher levels of connectedness to school and their peers.1 Teacher caring and support has also been associated with improved student engagement in math and reading.2

Students report feeling more connected to both their school and their peers when they feel that their teachers:

  • go out of their way to help students.
  • make time to talk about the things students want to talk about.
  • help students to organize their work and catch up when they return from an absence.
  • take a personal interest in students.1
Classroom with students, a male teacher and a female teacher

Building strong, supportive, trusting relationships with students may be particularly critical for students who are experiencing uncertainty or trauma (for example, due to the COVID-19 pandemic or from racial injustice and marginalization).3 – 4

Teacher Caring and Support

These skills can help build caring, supportive relationships with students.

Tools and Templates
Looking to apply this in your school or classroom?

Download the PDF version of this page to record your own notes and next steps.

  1. Acosta J, Chinman M, Ebener P, Malone PS, Phillips A, Wilks A. Understanding the relationship between perceived school climate and bullying: A mediator analysis. Journal of school violence. 2019;18(2):200-215.
  2. Kearney WS, Smith PA, Maika S. Examining the impact of classroom relationships on student engagement: A multilevel analysis. Journal of School Public Relations. 2014;35(1):80-102.
  3. Plumb JL, Bush KA, Kersevich SE. Trauma-sensitive schools: An evidence-based approach. School Social Work Journal. 2016;40(2):37-60.
  4. Zhou X. Managing psychological distress in children and adolescents following the COVID-19 epidemic: A cooperative approach. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy. 2020.
  5. Baroody AE, Rimm-Kaufman SE, Larsen RA, Curby TW. The link between responsive classroom training and student–teacher relationship quality in the fifth grade: A study of fidelity of implementation. School psychology review. 2014;43(1):69-85.
  6. Prothero A. How to build relationships with students during COVID-19. Published 2020. Accessed September, 2020.
  7. Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network. Pronoun guide. Accessed September, 2020.
  8. Barnett A. 14 tips for fine-tuning your virtual reading instruction. Published 2020. Accessed September, 2020.
  9. Taylor JC. Seven classroom structures that support student relationships. Published 2016.
  10. Resilient Educator. 5 innovative elementary classroom management ideas. Accessed September, 2020.
  11. Nordegren C. 3 reasons to use formative assessment in your virtual instruction- And tips on how to go about it. Published 2020. Accessed September, 2020.
  12. Cox J. Digital exit tickets for the virtual classroom. Published 2021. Accessed January, 2021.
  13. Search Institute. Building developmental relationships during the COVID-19 crisis. Published 2020. Accessed September, 2020.
  14. Duong MT, Pullmann MD, Buntain-Ricklefs J, Lee K, Benjamin KS, Nguyen L, et al. Brief teacher training improves student behavior and student–teacher relationships in middle school. School Psychology. 2019;34(2):212.
  15. Michigan MTSS Technical Assistance Center. Classroom PBIS for online learning. Published 2020. Accessed September, 2020.
  16. Restorative Schools. Restorative schools toolkit. Accessed September, 2020.