As our students navigate their own unique journeys in school, it’s important to recognize that academic achievement is not solely dependent on reading textbooks and completing homework assignments. One of the most significant factors contributing to our student’s success is the strength of their relationships with the adults in their lives. This is one of the most important parts of our jobs as your student’s teachers here at EYC: fostering strong connections with our students to help them feel supported and welcomed, as well as provide models for the behavior and communication we hope to see in our graduates.
Research consistently underscores the impact that positive relationships with adults have on a student’s academic and personal development. Whether it’s with guardians, parents, coaches, grandparents, teachers, neighbors, mentors, or other caregivers, these connections provide a nurturing environment that fosters growth, resilience, and overall well-being.
Here’s what we’re doing at EYC to make sure our students have positive relationships with us:
We are invested in the success of our students. Our Director of Education, Kathy Michalek says that “We’ve always believed that ‘students [at EYC] don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care about them’ (John Maxwell). Our small class sizes make building relationships possible!” When they are struggling, both with school and life, we want to be there to support them and make them feel understood. The confidence of knowing that someone else has faced the challenges they have can build up our students’ confidence and resilience. Art Teacher Terry Neal helps students through challenging work to grow their own strength; she said, “As an art instructor at EYC, it is important that my students feel challenged yet inspired and to gain confidence through self expression.” This support translates into academic support as well: helping students with their schoolwork, providing additional resources, and brainstorming life paths beyond graduation.
Being a Role Model
We know our students are watching the ways that adults, in their lives and in the media, behave, react to situations, and think through challenges. We want to teach positive behaviors and examples for our students by teaching and working with empathy, kindness, and perseverance. History Teacher Shari Hollander says that “I make sure that I give students a chance to share their interests and what is important to them, by doing this, I am modeling a life lesson Education is not all about learning content, it’s growing as an individual and developing skills that will take students as far as they want to go in life.” And when we observe inappropriate behavior, we privately talk with our students and explain our thoughts about how things could have gone differently. We hope that our students apply their values in their own lives and with others.
Talking things out can be a great way to approach a wide range of problems or challenges. When our students feel comfortable communicating their needs or concerns with us, it allows us to better support them and provide suggestions for resolutions to whatever they are struggling with.
We are so proud of our students for the learning and growth we see through the semesters! And we are happy to be a support system for them as they face challenges, in and out of school, in a productive and healthy way.