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7 Ways To Maintain Student-Teacher Relationships During Lockdown


With social distancing and school being closed in the wake of COVID-19, many find themselves struggling with maintaining their social lives, as well as keeping in touch with students. Whether it’s maintaining a teacher-student relationship, staying in touch with friends and family, or coping with too much time together with loved ones at home, everyone is rethinking relationships.

Here are 7 ways to maintain relationships with students during your school closure.

Let’s go over some tips for teachers to keep their classes connected, support their students through this difficult time, and maintain the connections that are important.

COVID-19 Lockdown: Why Is It Happening?

In the wake of the novel coronavirus that is spreading across the world, many governments have shut down whole cities to prevent further transmission of the virus. Many schools and offices are still waiting to reopen, and many people are staying home more in the effort to social distance.

How Lockdowns Are Affecting Students

What the lockdown means is that many are separated from their communities, friends, and even family members. Students may be feeling isolated and thrown off by their changing school routines (or lack thereof) and adjusting to online learning.

For those who are stuck at home with family, roommates, or significant others, the mixture of anxiety caused by the current events and being around each other 24/7 may be bringing up underlying issues in dynamics, relationships, and living conditions.

For teachers, you may be experiencing all of these struggles, as well as wondering how to keep in touch with students and keep them engaged in their studies.

Help students stay connected by assigning pen pals or phone pals
Photo by Avel Chuklanov on Unsplash

7 Ways To Maintain Relationships With Students During School Closure

Below are a few ideas to incorporate into your interactions with students in order to stay connected. Choose whichever suits your class’s needs, and don’t forget to take a rest now and then so you can continue doing your best.

1. Try To Say Hello Frequently

An important part of school is the social aspect. Students make friends, sit together with their peers who they’ve known for years, talk during their breaks, and are greeted by their teachers. For students who are feeling disconnected from their peers and normal routines, it can make a big difference to hear from their teachers.

As a teacher, you can make a connection and say hello through video or phone. Not only will this help the students feel more connected, but it can also increase participation in lessons or assignments.

2. Find A Way To Maintain Morning Meet-Ups

With schools closed, students will be missing their friends and the interactions that happen before and during class — after all, it’s the “fun” part of school. Finding a way to maintain interactive meetings can go a long way to helping both students and teachers feel more connected.

If technology allows, transfer your usual morning routines to video by making time for daily announcements, sharing, and getting students to interact with prompts.

3. Mood ”Temperature Checks”

Students may be experiencing many different emotions through these difficult times, and without face-to-face classes, students are less able to share, and teachers can’t assess their students’ well-being through body language.

Instead, you can ask students to send in a daily emoji for their mood, a simple thumbs up or down, or get creative with your mood temperature checks.

Another option is adding check-ups to school assignments by having each student check up on another one, either through phone, email, text, or video chat. This allows each student to express their emotional state, stay connected, and it helps you as a teacher stay connected to your students as well.

4. Assign Pen Pals Or Phone Pals

While students are away from their social environments, integrating as many social activities as possible will help everyone stay connected. For those students who are not old enough to be staying in touch with their friends through social media and texting, assign each student a pen pal or phone pal that they can reach out to in order to stay connected and check up on each other.

5. Create Virtual Homeroom Tables

Set up discussion threads with four or five students in order to facilitate conversation about assignments and class material. This allows students to have more peer interaction during their time at home, as opposed to just staying in touch with their close friends, and will also help get students engaged in the material if being stuck at home is making them feel unmotivated.

6. Include Parents

During this time, many parents find themselves homeschooling their children, helping their young students navigate new technology, while also navigating their own work and relationships in the same space. Reaching out to parents to check up on the whole family can help students and their families cope with school difficulties. Emails, texts, or phone calls can be used to ask parents how they or their children are doing, and to offer resources and advice.

Parent helps child navigate his classes online
Photo by Shayna Douglas on Unsplash

7. Creatively Process Emotions

Use writing assignments to get students to name and process their emotions about the current situation. Creative assignments give students the valuable opportunity to process and express fears, sadness, confusion, and any other emotions that may be coming up.

Not only is this beneficial for the students’ mental and emotional well-being, it can also be a good tool to stay connected to students from afar, and notify parents if their child is showing signs of anxiety or depression.

To Wrap Up

COVID-19 has had an impact on every part of life. If you’re a teacher or a student during this time, there are many ways to stay connected to each other through creative meet-ups and check-ins over technology, assignments that encourage emotional awareness and connection, and generally fostering the connections that may be missing while schools are closed.

We hope that these 7 ways to maintain relationships with students during your school closure help teachers and students stay connected and engaged, despite school closures and stressful current events.

And most importantly, as we are all struggling during these difficult times, it is important to acknowledge the situation and to practice empathy and kindness toward one another.

University of the People