Teaching Tuesday: Tips for Cultivating Professional Relationships as an Educator

By Dr. Tracy Vasquez and Dr. Marjaneh Gilpatrick, faculty

<span>Teaching Tuesday: Tips for Cultivating Professional Relationships as an Educator</span>

Communication is critical in education. After all, without effective communication, how can you build professional relationships that are meaningful? What are the specific dispositions that educators need to polish in order to be effective communicators inside and outside of the classroom? Below are three essential components from GCU College of Education Professional Dispositions of Learners document and how they can be leveraged to improve your relationships with students, colleagues and administrators.

As an educator, you model ethical behavior and establish professional relationships alongside your teaching practice. In this way, you positively influence your colleagues and students as well as their families—on both an academic and a personal level. You maintain confidentiality for student privacy in cooperation with federal mandates and personal ethics, as well demonstrate responsibility in areas of leadership, assessment and organization.

Interacting With Students and Families

When you interact appropriately with students and their families, as well as with peers, faculty, administrators and external constituents, you exhibit professional traits. This includes skills including punctuality and consistent attendance to proactive attitudes in all settings. Professional conduct is demonstrated by the following behaviors:

  • Exhibiting professionalism in your timeliness, attendance, attire, attitudes in university and school settings 
  • Exhibiting initiative and dedication
  • Demonstrating respect for self, colleagues, students and property
  • Committing to teaching all students with the belief all students can learn
  • Interacting appropriately and effectively with students and their families, peers, faculty, administrators and external audiences
  • Communicating appropriately, frequently and effectively
  • Demonstrating responsibility, accountability, integrity and resourcefulness
  • Actively participating in school and professional learning communities
  • Acting in congruence with local, state and national policy and law that govern education

Demonstrate Honesty

Moreover, as servant leaders, it is essential that as a teacher you exhibit honesty in your relationships to guide peers and students in meeting goals—the academic program goals as well as individual learning goals of your students. This allows you to develop meaningful professional relationships, integrate various perspectives, remain transparent during the decision-making process for developing and implementing holistic solutions.

This can be demonstrated by:

  • Saying what you mean and meaning what you say
  • Always speaking truthfully to your students
  • Being transparent in your decision-making processes
  • Ensuring that input from all stakeholders is gathered
  • Using student input to make decisions
  • Keeping the students in the center of your decision-making process

Professional Relationships

Last, a dedicated educator is constantly working with others in their professional relationships to ultimately benefit the teaching and learning that occurs in the classroom. Professional relationships can lead to many positive behaviors:

  • Active classroom participation
  • Prompt completion of work
  • Exhibiting a positive attitude
  • Engagement in personal professional development
  • Participation in educational social networks
  • Punctuality
  • Consistent attendance

When practiced consistently, these three dispositions related to effective communication for educators influence behaviors toward students, families, colleagues and communities. Additionally, they may positively affect student learning and achievement, motivation and development, as well as the educator’s own professional growth.

At Grand Canyon University’s College of Education, our teaching and learning cycle provides a structure for reflection for teacher and principal candidates. It provides guidance based on research regarding the professional teaching and learning process and is grounded in our rich Christian heritage. Teachers and principal candidates personally move through the practices of learning, leading and serving. They also progress through the teaching and learning cycle. Learn more about earning your education degree from GCU and return each week for a new Teaching Tuesday post.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.