Connection vs Relationship

I have enrolled in a class, WIBO (Workshop in Business Opportunity) to bolster Fostering Teachers and my understanding of how to have a successful business. We meet on Mondays, and at the conclusion of last night’s meeting, I had an epiphany: There is a significant and major difference between connection and relationship.



The pictures look very similar, and indeed, without giving the two interactions much thought, one might assume they are the same – but they’re not. What I have come to understand is that I can connect with another based solely on commonality of experience. For example, a classmate shared some challenges she had faced during the day. In particular, she received a ticket in her haste to arrive at class on time. I connected with that. I too have had a similar experience. I connected with her, but we do not yet have relationship. Yesterday was only our second class together.

While connections can be made instantaneously, building relationship has a different set of dynamics. Relationship building requires willingness, time, commitment, honesty, and trust.

A relationship is work, and it changes. And you go with the changes. It’s more good times than bad times, but it’s not always good. You have to overcome those issues and move on.

David Burtka

How is all this connected to education? Building relationship with students is hard work. I’ve heard and read educational conversations that say spend the first week of school building relationship with your students. Really! The first week? Why would we think that time spent building a relationship with a husband or significant other would be any different from building relationship with students? The same amount of time, commitment, honesty and trust we devote to adult relationships is only a fraction of the time needed to build relationship with our students.

This is reality – teacher/student relationships take longer than a week to develop. Relationship building is on-going. When a teacher is willing, devotes time, and is honest, students may begin to trust around the end of first semester.

I encourage all teachers, especially those new to the profession to commit to building student/teacher and student/student relationships the entire school year. One week is NOT ENOUGH.






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