Now more than ever, creating meaningful connections matters. Students and teachers have been isolated, in some circumstances for months, and only interacting through virtual online meeting rooms. People are craving face-to-face interactions and finding ways to foster those relationships will not only help with test scores but also students’ mental health.
Creating meaningful student and peer tutor relationships provides an opportunity to do just that. And by following some basic practices, it can further encourage more purposeful connections.
A change of mindset from focusing on what you are getting out of a relationship and more towards what you can give can make all the difference. Plus offering value to other students is a great way to work on your own mental health.
Studies have shown that when we help others, it triggers a chemical release that affects our brain in a positive way. When we help others, our brains release oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine. These hormones have the effect of boosting your mood and counteract the effect of cortisol (the stress hormone).
Value the other person’s time.
Our time is our most valuable resource. There is no amount of money that can buy you more time.
An important lesson in building relationships is to value the other person’s time. Do not take for granted that they have the choice to be doing something else, but instead are with you.
Be a good listener.
A peer tutor doesn’t just help you with the subject matter. At the end of the day, we are all human. People enjoy connecting and if a student is having a hard day, peer tutors can be a shoulder to lean on. That applies to the mentor as well. Just having a peer to talk to can create lasting friendships.
Likewise, it is also important to be open to feedback. Feedback is meant to be constructive, so focus on how you can grow and learn from it.
Lastly, always thank the other person for their time and help. To feel appreciated can have a major impact on building relationships.
You would be surprised to see how much a simple ‘thank you’ can get you and how often people forget to say it. A person will want to continue to support and advise you because they feel valued.