Relationships with pupils, colleagues and parents

Trainee advice
02 August 2017
There are lots of relationships to get used to when you first go into the classroom. Here are some tips for navigating relationships with pupils, colleagues and parents.

Relationships with colleagues

The relationships you form with your mentor, staff, students, parents and governors can make all the difference in the early stages of your career.

As a student or new teacher, you are trying to make a good impression, understand the school culture and work out who's who. Here are a few points to help with this:

  • Take your time, you don't have to suss everyone out.
  • Well-established staff can sometimes feel threatened by change or new ideas.
  • Acknowledge the skills and expertise of your more experienced colleagues, but don't forget that your view matters.
  • Have the confidence to voice your ideas and suggest improvements, but remember to tread carefully.
  • You not only need to get to know your colleagues but also the complex network of relationships that exists. Help and guidance may come from unexpected sources. Working out how the staff relate to each other is invaluable, especially teaching and support staff.

Relationships with students

When you start, colleagues should be able to provide invaluable information about your students, for example if problems at home might affect behaviour in class. Information can also be gleaned from students' individual education plans or from the school's SEN register. You can also observe how colleagues relate to and deal with students, and help with extracurricular activities.

To establish clear expectations of behaviour at the very start of your relationship with your students, you should:

  • know what the procedures are for praise (commendations, points) and punishments (demerits, detentions)
  • create and maintain an orderly environment
  • be consistent and firm
  • show respect to your students
  • use praise and encouragement frequently
  • be in control
  • have a sense of humour.

Further help and advice

You can find more help and advice on a range of issues on the ATL and the NUT section websites.

Visit the ATL section website
Visit the NUT section website