Give them the confidence that you are there FOR them. Let them feel you are there to support their justifiable causes. Let them understand you are there to make their lives smooth for them.
How do you do all these?
By being much more than a subject teacher.
See them as human beings, understand and deal with their shortcomings with empathy (mind you, don’t condescend, they’ll know), applaud their strengths, help them in whatever way you can with the administration and other staff.
1. Ground Rules
In my first class with students, I'd emphasise this: Remember this every moment you're in class. Two palms are required to clap, two feet are needed to move, mind and heart are necessary to make a human whole, if I'm the one palm you are the other, if I'm one foot you're the other. If I'm the heart you're the mind. I'll do my best and so should you.
All the others are secondary. The ground rules come first. Always.
2. Greet them first
Don’t wait for your students, greet them as soon as you see them, wherever you see them. A greeting and a cheerful face go a long way in initiating the rapport.
3. Make enquiries
Enquire after their health, get to know details about any visible health issue. Such a gesture indicates your concern for them.
4. Encourage them
Involve yourself in extracurricular activities; this will lead to their participation. Praise their little or big successes. Admire their talents. Be proud of their achievements.
5. Support their just causes
Let them see you championing their wishes, needs and comforts.
6. Meet parents
Be in frequent touch with parents or relatives. Especially of those ‘difficult’ children. Discuss their physical and mental well-being. Suggest that neatness and discipline at home, respect for time, good habits go a long way in shaping their children’s future.
Arrange for picnics, trips to places closeby, meaningful occupation of time—games, singing, dancing, painting, cooking.
Arrange for meaningful social activities—keeping surroundings clean, literacy to elders, getting things done for illiterates.
And so on.
Be much more than a subject teacher.