It Starts With Trust
Updated: Sep 10, 2021
Consultant Gretchen Averette shares how trust factors into her work with students
"They don't care how much you know until they know how much you care"
Though the slogan is commonly used in corporate customer service rallies or marketing campaigns, I believe it rings true for kids, especially those who struggle with academics.
When beginning with a new student, one of my goals for our very first session is to make a connection. I want to learn about their interests, strengths, weaknesses, hobbies, and what makes them tick. Not only does this help build trust, but it also provides a way for me to tailor our sessions to really capture their attention. For example, one of my students recently attended a summer camp and when she returned she said it was the best week of her life! As we worked on math skills, our word problems included the cost of shirts sold at the camp store; how many campers per cabin; and dividing pizza among the camp staff. Her eyes lit up because she was able to connect her positive experience with an academic subject that had previously brought anxiety.
When students cross the threshold of my office door, they recognize it is a safe space to learn, practice, make mistakes, and grow. They feel supported and know that I am their advocate. Together we set goals, target weaknesses, and practice executive functioning skills, including working memory, organization, and task initiation. Once trust is built, students are more willing to voice concerns, ask for help, and try hard things. I am their personal cheering section as they move forward in their academic growth. They know that I care and that I am interested in who they are as a person. Accountability is a wonderful weapon against self-doubt. My purpose is to partner with them as we build on strengths and turn their fears into success. Even students who have been deep in the mire of academic frustration can feel the tug of great possibilities when they realize they are not alone. Building trust with students is foundational to our success in academic coaching, here at Capital Educational Solutions.
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Brown, L. (2014). “The Importance of Trust.” Teach for All. Retrieved from: https://teachforall.org/news/importance-trust