The mutually beneficial connections that result from strong student-teacher and student-student relationships are among the most important factors in achieving learning gains and teaching success. These connections are the foundations of the support and feedback systems that encourage and inspire students and teachers to improve their craft.
Such relationships require solid foundations. This is why building relationships and making connections based on universally respected values is so important. Being friendly, responsive, interactive, trustworthy, and reliable is welcomed by any person. When we engage in ways that promote those values first, we establish mutual respect and a strong foundation for our relationship. This does not mean we will always agree or get along. What it does mean is that when faced with a challenge, the connection we made is more likley to stand after the fact.
On the other hand, when we enter a relationship feeling as if we are being compared to others and evaluated at every turn, we are not able to establish a conenction based on mutually beneficial elements. One of us is being compared to something else and one of us is doing the comparing. Competition for attention is at the core. These characteristics are not the basis for a solid relationship, certainly not one that should be expected to withstand a challenge.
And if you are to learn, you will be challenged.
Choose wisely the foundation upon which you build your relationships and nurture your connections.