Teachers represent faculty and staff who are responsible for using a variety of instructional strategies to address individual students’ strengths and needs, thereby ensuring each student has an opportunity to learn and succeed. 

As teachers interact with their students while providing instruction, they play a very important role in establishing a safe, supportive learning environment. Positive teacher–student relationships can have long-lasting effects on the social, emotional, and academic development of youth. Teachers can improve the school’s environment by actively seeking to prevent physical violence, bullying, and emotional abuse in their classrooms and throughout the school by building relationships with students and staff.

Teachers can develop culturally responsive classrooms to foster a collaborative environment.

Creating a culturally responsive classroom allows teachers to understand the differences among the cultures in the classroom, while still recognizing and valuing individual student needs. Understanding the diverse needs of students can assist teachers with creating relationships with students that are built upon collaboration. In turn, students will feel more empowered to speak out, ask questions, and give input to classroom procedures.

Teachers can create welcoming classrooms for all families in which they feel invited to become a part of their child’s learning.

Not only do quality relationships among teachers and students improve students’ academic success, but fostering positive relationships with students' families also can contribute to students’ success in the classroom. Involving families in the educational process should not be viewed as a one-time event (e.g., teacher–parent conferences), but rather as a continual process in which teachers begin to understand the needs of the families they serve and their diverse backgrounds.

Students are more likely to connect with their schools and communities if they have a positive, trusting relationship with their teachers.

Positive relationships and attitudes among teachers and students can support an environment in which students feel safe and learning takes place. Students feel more connected with their school and community when an adult provides encouragement to students to become actively involved within and outside the classroom. Teachers also can coordinate links between the school and community resources to further provide services that enhance classroom instruction.


Bucalos, A. B., & Lingo, A. S. (2005). What kind of "managers" do adolescents really need? Helping middle and secondary teachers manage classrooms effectively. Beyond Behavior, 14(2), 9–14.

LaRocque, M., Kleiman, I., & Darling, S. M. (2011). Parental involvement: The missing link in school achievement. Preventing School Failure, 55(3), 115–122.


Featured Resources

The Learning Classroom: Feelings Count – Emotions and Learning video still

 Introduces videos on ways in which teachers can create an emotionally safe classroom to foster learning, and ways in which they can deal with emotions and conflicts that can be an obstacle to learning. 

Report cover - Supporting and Responding to Behavior: Evidence-Based Classroom Strategies for Teachers

Summarizes evidence-based, positive, proactive, and responsive classroom behavior intervention and support strategies for teachers. These tools can help teachers capitalize on instructional time and decrease disruptions, which is crucial as schools are held to greater academic and social accountability measures for all students. 

Brandi Simonsen, Jennifer Freeman, Steve Goodman, Barbara Mitchell, Jessica Swain-Bradway, Brigid Flannery, George Sugai, Heather George, and Bob Putman
Thumnail image - Image of check boxs - School Climate Measurement Tool and Web-Based Platform - EDSCLS

Provides surveys for middle and high school students, their parents, teachers, instructional staff, non-instructional staff and administrators on a web-based platform. The surveys can be downloaded free of charge and provide user-friendly school climate reports back to users. Local education agencies administering the survey will be able to store the data locally on their own data systems.

U.S Department of Education
American Pyschological Association logo

Provides guidance for improving students' relationships with teachers to promote students' academic and social development. Includes do's and don'ts, strategies for cultivating positive relationships in the classroom, theoretical perspectives, measures, climate indicators, stressors, and additional references.

Fostering School Connectedness: Improving Student Health and Academic Achievement (Information for Teachers and Other School Staff) cover page

Answers questions about school connectedness and identifies strategies teachers and school staff can use to foster connectedness among their students.


silhouette of people

Includes two modules trainers can use to address bullying in classrooms.  Specifically, it is designed to assist teachers in cultivating meaningful relationships with students while creating a positive climate in the classroom.

Coping in Hard Times: Fact Sheet for School Staff cover page

Offers practical suggestions and ways in which school staff, teachers, and administrators can support students in these uncertain economic times. Includes strategies to promote a sense of safety, calm, self-efficacy, individual and community efficacy, connectedness, and hope.

Teach to Lead summits provide teams with time to collaborate, skills development, and professional consultation to incubate innovative ideas that can make a positive impact for students in their schools, communities, districts and states. The next Teach to Lead Summit will be held September 19–21, 2019 in Salt Lake City, Utah. This topical summit will bring teacher leaders and other stakeholders together to address the needs of the “whole child” and “whole teacher” in an effort to transition from a focus on narrowly defined academic achievement to one that promotes the long-term

Teach to Lead