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Blog: Thursday, March 12th, 2020

Building Relationships at ATSS with Titan DNA

We began this year with a staff retreat in Sept.  We had invited a guest speaker, well know Educational Consultant, Tom Hierck, to lead us in work on the “Seven Keys to a Positive Learning Environment”. One of the concepts which came out of his presentation and our discussion, related to the research which showed how important developing relationship between students and teachers impacted learning in a positive way.  In our discussions on how to facilitate the development of relationship between teachers and students, the concept of “teacher DNA” or individual teacher “dreams, needs and abilities”, was adopted to develop a more personal connection between teachers and students.  With this in mind, we adopted the concept of establishing first, teacher “DNA” and then, following up with student “DNA”.

Teachers were encouraged to share their dreams needs and abilities along with a picture of themselves revealing an outside school interest or hobby that they may have.  This was done with the goal of beginning to break down the walls of impersonality which can often accompany our profession.  Teachers responded enthusiastically, submitting their DNA along with personal pictures in a casual setting.  These were collected by a couple of our teachers and then posted on a wall display in the hallway outside of our office.  It was amazing to see the student interest when it was posted as there were crowds around the display to see what each staff members DNA was. 

This was also done with the students.  Staff selected a particular period to do this with their class.  This data was also collected and organized into a wall display in the classroom for others to see.  Again, the interest by both students and staff was great to see.  The impact of breaking down barriers and encouraging relationship has been encouraging.  As we seek to develop positive relationships with the intent to improve student learning, we know this is not a one-off experience but rather a beginning of developing a strong positive learning environment here at ATSS.

Principal, Abbotsford Traditional Secondary School