The Importance Of Connection

This is an exciting time of year because volunteers are beginning to start reading with students all across the Greater Austin area.  THIS is why Education Connection exists!  One of the key strategies for having a successful year with your students is found the the name of the program – connection.

What is connection?

Merriam-Websters defines connection as “something that connects”, “a means of communication”, and “a person connected with another especially by common interest”.  As you begin meeting the teachers and students it is vitally important to connect and communicate. Connection determines the quality of the relationship.  Take the opportunity to lay a foundation that will set the student, teacher, and yourself up for success.

Connection can come in many way shapes and forms.  Connection can be as simple as a smile or a kind word.  It can be remembering the teacher’s name or your students favorite color.  Remember the Favorites List is a great resource for your first meetings with students.

Why is connection so important?

Connection builds trust.  Teachers will be trusting you with their students.  Students will be trusting you to show up each week and help them read.  In a sense, connection is the glue that holds the process of achieving our mission of “…every child reading by 3rd grade.”

Establishing a healthy connection with your teachers and students will help them to trust you.  The sooner a connection is established the quicker trust is established.  Although this concept may sound deep it truly is a simple tool for ensuring the comfort and success of our students.

Practical Tips for Creating Connection

    • Make a point to introduce yourself to the receptionist each time you check in.
    • Say hello to the teacher each time you pick up your students. Eye contact, a wave, a smile, or even a brief hello work wonders for building connection.
    • Start each student meeting with a greeting or question.In other words, don’t immediately jump into reading.
    • Using the walk time is great space for creating connections with your students.
    • Communicate with your teacher when you drop off your students. Again, eye contact, wave, or a smile.
    • Utilize email to communicate schedule changes, concerns, etc.
    • Have FUN!!!

Remember, it is not our job to teach students to read.  It is simply our job to show up consistently in humility and spend time reading together with our students!

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