I'm almost done (hooray!!!!!) with my Master's degree -- and I feel like all I do is read, read, read.
And not the fun kind of reading.
BUT, today I read something wonderful and inspiring in some research for class. It validates my teaching philosophy -- and inspired me to keep nurturing close relationships with my students. It encourages me to continue to be as warm and responsive as possible -- at all times.
"The teacher-student relationship is far and away the most important aspect of the school environment from a child's perspective. [It] has the power to encourage or discourage a child's educational success. Researchers find that teachers who maintain warm, emotionally supportive relationships with the children in their classrooms... those children tend to show more motivation to learn, more engagement in the learning process, and more social competence in the classroom." -- Handbook of Early Childhood Education (Pianta - 2012)
SO... research says... love your students! Hug them... be available... LISTEN... it will directly impact their motivation to learn!