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Teaching Strategies to Build Trust in the Classroom

Janelle Cox

Trust is essential when it comes to relationships. It’s also one of the most important things that you can have between a student and a teacher. Without trust, you won’t have a solid relationship. Like respect, trust can take time to build. However, teachers don’t have a lot of time, so it’s imperative that you begin to build trust with your students from the moment they enter the classroom door. Here are five teaching strategies on how you can earn trust from your students.

Teaching Strategies: Be Consistent with Your Words

Consistency is key when it comes to earning the trust of your students. Always be consistent with whatever you say to your students, because if you aren’t, then they will never trust you. As soon as you go back on your word, your word no longer has any value. This means that if you tell students that if they receive a 90 or above on their math test, that you’ll give them a “Get out of homework pass,” then you must give them the pass if they received the grade. If you tell a student that you’ll show up for their soccer game, then you must show up. You word has value and in order to build a trusting relationship with your students, you must be consistent.

Be Tolerant of All Students

Do not judge your students, be tolerant of any mistakes or negative feelings they may have towards trusting adults. You never know what is going on in their home life. Be considerate of every student, because some students may not have an adult that they can trust at home. You can’t expect students to be trusting when they have never had anyone in their life that they can trust. Be tolerant and patient. You can slowly build your students’ trust by always being there for them, as well as always being consistent with your words and actions.

Take Time to Create a Positive Classroom Community

Effective teachers know that building a sense of community helps to create a stronger bond within the classroom, which is essentially the key to creating an optimal learning environment. One way of building positive relationships within the classroom is to get to know your students, and to have your students get to know one another. The more opportunities you give your students to bond with one another, the more trusting the relationships in the classroom will become. As students get older, their tendency to trust begins to fade. This is most likely due to adults failing them in the past. When a student learns an adult can’t keep their word, they no longer trust them. Create opportunities for students to share their thoughts and feeling with you as well as their peers. Having a daily morning meeting is a great way to create a positive classroom atmosphere where all students feel comfortable to share their feelings.

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Trust Students Will Follow Through

Trust is something that is earned and it can take time to develop a trusting relationship with your students. However, trust has to start somewhere, and one of the best ways that you can show students that you trust them is to not jump in every time they fail. Trust that your students will follow through with what they said they will do. Because if you leap in every time they make a mistake, then you are just showing them that you don’t trust that they can do it on their own. An excellent example of this comes from a 6th grade classroom. The teacher trusted that the student would make up a math quiz by the end of the week, but when she noticed there was only one day left until Friday, she didn’t trust that the student would remember to make up the test. However, she didn’t go with her instinct and remind the student (which would’ve showed them that she didn’t trust them). Instead, she was patient. Then on Friday, the student asked if they could make up the math quiz. She asked them why they waited so long, and to her surprise the student said they wanted to give themselves the week to study and prepare. In the end, the teacher made the right choice to trust her student to do the right thing.

Be Transparent with Your Communication

As mentioned, your words have value and your word is your worth. So it’s important to be mindful when it comes to your words. Be open and transparent when speaking to your students, this will help you earn trust from your students. Be honest in your opinions and always speak the truth. When you do so, you’ll show your students that your cards are all out on the table and there is no reason to mistrust anything that you say or do.

Trust takes time to build, but if you’re patient and start from the moment you meet your students, you will get there.

How do you build trust in your classroom? Do you have teaching strategies that you like to use with your students? Please share with us in the comment section below, we’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic.


Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds Masters of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com, TeachHUB Magazine, and Hey Teach. She was also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com for five years. You can follow her on Twitter @empoweringed, on Facebook at Empowering K12 Educators, or contact her at Janellecox78@yahoo.com.