Building Positive Relationships with Students in a Virtual Classroom MONICA MILITELLO, PSY. S., SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGIST

I can still remember the first teacher who inspired me thirty years ago. When I asked myself if she could have inspired me in a virtual classroom, the answer was a resounding, yes. Mrs. Dixon's believe in me would have transcended a computer screen.
Based on the article, Why Teacher-Student Relationships Matter,
"A Review of Educational Research analysis of 46 studies found that strong teacher-student relationships were associated in both the short- and long-term with improvements on practically every measure schools care about: higher student academic engagement, attendance, grades, fewer disruptive behaviors and suspensions, and lower school dropout rates. Those effects were strong even after controlling for differences in students' individual, family, and school backgrounds"
Show me an inspiring and powerful teacher and you will show me a teacher who cares about students.


1. Listen and acknowledge your students. Whether you are listening to their actual voice or the words they type in an email or chat box, listening builds a sense of respect.
Based on, The Construct of ‘Respect’ in Teacher-Student Relationships: Exploring Dimensions of Ethics of Care and Sustainable Development, "The scientific literature is replete with findings that support the existence of a relationship between students’ perceptions of being listened to, and their feelings of being respected."
2. Strive for a higher ratio of positive to negative interactions with students.
Based on, Positive Feedback and Ratio of Interactions: A Research Summary by Safe & Civil Schools, "There is evidence in the research literature that positive feedback and a 3:1 (at a minimum) ratio of positive to negative interactions works to motivate students."
3. Implement a way to check on how students are feeling during remote learning.
Explore the use of Pear Deck. The Pear Deck extension offers templates using Google Slides to check on how students are feeling. Check out Stacey Roshan's Tutorial on using Pear Deck's Social Emotional Learning Slides.
4. Check in with students individually when they are absent, missing an assignment or you have concerns through phone, email or virtual office hours. More than ever, it may not be that students are unwilling to do their work, there may be other adverse factors at play.
Based on the article, Four Ways Teachers Can Show They Care, "A caring teacher can transform the school experience especially for students who face enormous difficulties, such as dropping out or dysfunctional home lives."
For more great ideas and free templates, check out Jennifer Findley's resources on checking in on students using Google Forms:
5. Encourage students to support each other in a virtual classroom.
According to the author of Fostering a Strong Community in a Virtual Classroom, "Cultivating a culture of trust in the shared virtual space involves building relationships and helping students build empathy and understanding for each other and you."
For great and practical ideas on helping students feel connected:
6. Encourage and foster a climate of gratitude and kindness.
Based on the article, Gratitude: A Powerful Tool for Your Classroom, "Recent research by two leaders in the field of gratitude and education, Dr. Robert Emmons and Dr. Jeffrey Froh, supports the idea that gratitude improves the lives of students and adults."
For classroom ideas on practicing gratitude activities, visit:
7. Explore new ways to reach out to students during remote learning by asking colleagues and participating in professional development.
Based on the information provided by the author of Why Good Educators Are Lifelong Learners, "When educators take courses outside of professional development and collaborate, they discover creative teaching methods. Teachers who put their heads together to come up with innovative ideas to use in teaching achieve better student outcomes than outdated teaching methods."
Want to learn about remote learning? Check out Ditchthattextbook website.
8. Professional development for teachers is no longer restricted to a classroom, building or school district. It is at your fingertips through the internet.
Visit John Sowash's YouTube channel for practical ideas on integrating technology in the classroom:
Check out Katherine Panczner's video tutorial on creating a Bitmoji classroom
9. Remote learning is a new concept for many of us. Ask students for THEIR feedback on WHAT WORKS and DOES NOT WORK. Use google forms to create a way for your students to give you feedback.
Based on the information provided on 5 Reasons You Should Seek Your Own Student Feedback, "By finding out what learning activities students like the most and least about your class, you’ll get better at designing lessons that really engage them."
10. Embrace that there will be some bumps in the ROAD and expect some technology or connectivity problems in virtual classrooms. USE these experiences to Model to students resilience.

If you are trying to troubleshoot issues with Google Meet, check out this resource.

For more resources, please visit Henry County Schools School Psychologist website: https://sites.google.com/henry.k12.ga.us/hcs-schoolpsych-resources/home
Created By
Monica Militello


Created with images by Will O - "untitled image" • Allie - "untitled image" • Morning Brew - "untitled image" • Campaign Creators - "untitled image" • Yingchou Han - "Stockholm man with headphones" • Katrina Wright - "Believe in Yourself" • patricia serna - "colores a medida" • Ivan Aleksic - "From the exhibition "The Nineties: A Glossary of Migrations" https://www.muzej-jugoslavije.org/en/exhibition/devedesete-recnik-migracija/ " • Dan Meyers • Unknown - "Free illustration: Thankful, Thanks, Grateful - Free Image ..." • Kalen Emsley - "Hiker heading to ice cave" • Tim Mossholder - "Love to Learn" • Nick Fewings - "The word idea, carved into a piece of urban art." • Khara Woods - "Blue Wall" • Unknown - "cube mesh, -, abstract, big, data, data mining concept ..." • Sergey Zolkin - "Work on notebook"