About a month ago I had an interesting experience at Rancho Don Rey. As part of our professional development sessions a group of teacher were invited to the ranch for a series of workshops. One of the most interesting experiences was learning how to groom and show a horse. I was amazed at the ease with which such a big animal could be handled and I asked our Instructor how was that possible?
We were told that it is all the result of the trust building process, it takes time, a lot of time but it works. Most of the teachers there had never groomed a horse before, some were even terrified at the thought of touching a horse and yet all of us were able to work with the horses and groomed them as if we had done it many times before.
Horses will react to the stimuli just as much as we would do. If we trust a person we will follow them trusting that what they are doing is in our best interest. Our students are not different, we are able to build trust with them, there will be much less resistance to the changes and to the activities that are implemented in the class. Many times, at the beginning of the year, we find ourselves in difficult situations with our groups because they are not willing to accept the changes that we may be trying to implement. The process would be a lot easier if we take some time to build our students trust in our job.
To build a relation with a horse it takes hundreds of hours, we may not have that much time with our students to build trust, but we have to make sure that this(these) first week(s) we take some time to get to know our students as people and to let them understand that we care about them.
If we invest our time to build trust with our students, our year will be so much better!