A great way to build relationships that I recently just started doing was going out into the neighborhood and going to the houses of my students just to see how excited a child is when they see you at the door is the most adorable thing in the world. I think the parents really liked it because I’m going out of my comfort zone, to go into a neighborhood that I don’t really know, to come see you at your home. Now I get to see what your life is about, and I definitely think that has brought a whole new level to the relationships. My relationships, this year, when I started doing home visits, have been 10 times better than they ever have been. At the beginning of the school year, I send home a packet, and ask when my parents are able to come into the classroom to volunteer. I ask them questions about their student, about them, what they like to do, their availability, and also through Springboard, we invite them into the classroom to help build that relationship and to work on skills together. It’s so simple, make yourself a presence. They shouldn’t just know your name, they should know your face. Phone calls, text messages, sending progress reports home, that have detailed information about what they’re doing good at, what they need some help with. It’s also really important that when you actually see them in person that you’re having a conversation with them – asking them how they’re doing, how their weekend was, what’s going on in their life. Just letting them know that you’re interested in what’s going on with them and their child. I’m not judging, and once parents feel like you’re judging of them, they shut down. So I consider myself to be like Planet Fitness – it’s a judgement free zone, anything goes. I may not like what you have to say, and you may not like what I have to say, but, it’s judgement free, and it’s respected. So, I really believe that goes to help build the relationship that I have with the parents. For some families, this happens really quickly, and then with others, it takes some time. Some people are just a little more timid, and not so quick to trust, and you just have to feel that out.