List of Behaviors That Establish Trust Between a Child & Teacher

by Jennifer Zimmerman

No relationship functions well without trust. If a child is worried about being mocked or punished, he's can't concentrate on the lessons being taught, no matter how fabulous they are. A classroom needs to be a learning community, where the students trust each other and most especially, their teacher. Parents should look for certain behaviors that establish trust between a child and teacher.

Teacher Language

Teachers spend much of their day talking to students. The tone and language they use can have a critical effect on student trust levels. For trust to develop between the student and teacher, teachers need to use clear, genuine, respectful and nonjudgmental language consistently, according to the Responsive Classroom website. Teachers should also express when they appreciate a child's behavior or work, so the child knows the teacher appreciates him. Teachers should use meaningful feedback to make children feel that they are cared for, according to the American Psychological Association.

Teacher Accountability

A teacher needs to be accountable to his students to develop trust, according to That means returning work when you say you will, keeping track of classroom concerns and handling them and following-through on promises. Everyone makes mistakes, but a teacher who routinely loses assignments or doesn't follow-through on promised rewards won't gain the trust of a child.


Honesty is more of a two-way street in building trust between students and teachers, says author and teacher Rafe Esquith at Esquith says students need to be honest with him about mistakes such as missing homework or breaking classroom materials, otherwise the trust between them is broken. Teachers and students need to tell each other the truth, even when they make mistakes, to create trust.


When you think of people you trust, strangers probably aren't on the list. It is usually easier to trust someone once we know them, even if they have a job that implies trust, such as doctor or teacher. To establish trust between a teacher and a child, they should spend time getting to know each other as people, recommends the American Psychological Association. Teachers should share stories about themselves with students, maybe mentioning how they loved a particular book as a kid or how they learned their multiplication facts. Students should have the opportunity to share about themselves, maybe through weekly show and tell or naming a student of the week.

About the Author

Jennifer Zimmerman is a former preschool and elementary teacher who has been writing professionally since 2007. She has written numerous articles for The Bump, Band Back Together, Prefab and other websites, and has edited scripts and reports for DWJ Television and Inversion Productions. She is a graduate of Boston University and Lewis and Clark College.

Photo Credits

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