As a classroom teacher, I believe it’s critical that we help our students to develop a strong of belonging. Making my class feel like home is an important aspect of teaching that can help my students a strong sense of self-worth.
How do I make my class feel like home?
Our students need to feel like they belong in our classroom so they can perform at their best and are inspired to participate in the learning activities.
It’s something that must be nourished from the beginning. Additionally, this aids the students’ well-being and success during the course of the year.
Students who have a strong feeling of belonging are more likely to join different school activities and build relationships with their teachers and peers.
How do I make my class feel like home?
Begin the new school year with a plan to make your classroom more welcoming and inclusive. Does it sound challenging? Don’t worry. I have here ideas and suggestions for creating a sense of community among your students so they feel like home.
1. Use fun and interactive get to know activities
The first day of classes could be the most challenging day for students. However, with your expertise in making the first day so welcoming and fun, the feeling of intimidation will be replaced with excitement and engagement.
First impressions always matter. Hence, we should create a lasting impression of comfort, safety, and a supportive learning environment on the first day of school.
Entering a new classroom might be scary. So, we should make it easier for our students to adjust by using fun and interactive get-to-know activities.
Getting to know your students should be made meaningful and exciting. There are a lot of fun activities that will us and our students to learn about one another and establish connections from the start.
Well, for this to be successful, you really need to prepare for the first day and create a lasting impression of inclusivity in your classroom.
2. Cheer each student
Each of our students is unique. All of them have distinct capabilities that need to be recognized to boost their confidence and foster good relationships.
Creating a positive school culture requires recognizing the achievement of our students as well nurturing them. As we acknowledge our students’ efforts even if the simplest instance can have a great impact on their performance as well.
Planning a quarterly awarding ceremony even just in your classroom can make a difference. Our students will be more motivated to do well in class. We just have to remember to exhibit fairness at all times.
Simple yet meaningful thoughts of congratulating our students or praising them for their efforts can make them happy and make them feel like home.
“That’s a great idea”, “I really appreciate your initiative”, “You made me so happy”, and “Good job!”, are some of the simple words we can say that can mean something that our students won’t forget.
3. Prepare the classroom bulletins
The first thing students should experience as they step foot in your classroom is a sense of calm and belonging. They can feel that if your classroom is made ready for them.
Your classroom bulletins should express how happy you are to welcome your students. When your students see how their classroom is prepared for them, they can feel your sincerity and compassion.
Students need to feel they have a place to call their own when it comes to creating a sense of community.
Your properly structured classroom bulletin boards, for example, can help your students feel they belong. You may also set up a reading area for your students to relax and interact with their classmates.
Furthermore, there should be a space in the classroom where your students’ achievements and hard work are celebrated.
There are a plethora of options when it comes to creating a welcoming environment where students can feel like home.
4. Set high expectations
Cultivating a sense of belonging in the classroom requires us to set high expectations so our students become more engaged to learn.
Many educational researchers have found out that the expectations of the teachers have a significant impact on student performance.
Regardless of where our students started or what their previous skills were, all of them will progress and develop to a significantly greater degree when teachers use a growth mindset.
By setting high expectations for our students we have shown confidence in their capabilities likewise boosting their self-esteem and making them feel like home.
We just have to let our students know that we believe in their skills by speaking positively about them and acknowledging their efforts and achievements.
5. Foster collaboration and interaction
We can establish rapport with our students by providing collaborative and interactive learning activities. The more they interact and convey their thoughts and ideas, the more they feel like home.
When our students are given the opportunity to express their thoughts and learn in a supportive environment, they are more likely to succeed. It’s because they feel our support.
By assigning group tasks and planning for interactive activities, we are giving our students enriching opportunities to build connections with one another and to learn better.
6. Encourage students to learn in a safe, supportive, caring environment
As we recognize and celebrate the achievements of our students, as what is mentioned in #2, we are encouraging them to learn in a safe, supportive, and caring environment.
Moreover, we should amplify the spirit of vulnerability and reliance among our students so they won’t be intimidated to hare their own personal failures and triumphs.
In addition, students who feel at home really feel they belong in school. Significantly, more apparently, they take and succeed in more challenging learning activities.
7. Be responsive to the needs and feelings of your students
Our high level of support for our students can help our students achieve their full potential.
As caring adults in the classroom, we should find time to have casual conversations with our students so we know how they are and what are they feeling.
Don’t just start the day by introducing content. Establish a morning routine with relaxed conversation switch your students.
Having meaningful chitchat, jokes, or small talk can start the day with a feeling of belonging and comfort. These are simple social actions that we can initiate in the classroom.
A simple casual question like, “How are you doing?” can be very impactful on our students. Or you can initiate motivational activity that encourages your students to share their experiences.
8. Call the students by their first names
One of the effective ways to establish connections with our students is using their first names from day one. It makes them feel comfortable and at home.
To start calling our students by their first names, we can require them to wear nameplates in the first few weeks of the year. This is to help us easily remember their names.
As we’ve experienced, using a person’s first name indicates that we have a close connection with him or her. It’s about that care and concern that our students feel every time they hear their first names.
Moreover, when having interactive discussions with our students, they are more engaged if we are calling them by their first names.
It’s sweet. It’s melodious for them.
<<<How to make your students feel valued? Watch this video.
In school, we have students from all walks of life, cultures, and experiences. Thus, to increase student engagement, we need to cultivate a sense of belonging and respect for one another in the classroom.
A sense of belonging and connection in the classroom contributes to students’ achievement and well-being.
Our students should make a confident declaration of belonging when they ask themselves, “Do I belong in this classroom?” “Am I a part of this school?”
We need to create an environment that is conducive to learning. We are all in this together.
What am I overlooking? How do you help your students succeed and thrive in the classroom? Share your answers in the comment section below.