1) Talk to them.
I don't mean as a teacher, I mean as a person. While they are busy doing a task you have set them, walk around the room and get to know them. Ask them about their hobbies and interests, what games they like, what they watch on TV, what they ate for dinner etc, anything! It doesn't matter what you ask, it's the fact that you're asking and showing a genuine interest. You're demonstrating that you want to know them as an individual and not just a grade. That personal touch will do wonders in bonding with your students and earning their respect quickly.
Related to this, why not take a few minutes out of a lesson to set them a task to learn more about them. I have a great resource below that uses the concept of social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) to find out all about your students! They love filling it out as it is relatable to them, and it gives you a wealth of knowledge you can use to bond with your students:
2) Speak to them outside the classroom setting
I recommend you try talking to your students outside of the classroom environment if you want to build a bond with them. So that might mean making the effort to chat with them in the school yard, or watching them playing their games and cheering them on. I have even shot a few hoops with some of my students during the lunch hour before - they love it, no matter your skill level!
Another thing I often do is support my students in any sports games or concerts that they are taking part in. They'll love seeing you there supporting them and showing you care. Again, this all builds very tight bonds with your students.
3) Field trips
If you ever get the chance, try to get on a field trip with your students, especially if you're doing something adventurous and out of the ordinary! You will not believe the bond you will establish when you and your students are lost in a forest somewhere and need to work as a team to navigate yourself back to camp, or when you're all cheering each other on to reach the top of the climbing wall!
So there you have it. I hope those tips helped you get started in building bonds with your teenage students. What other ways do you bond with your students? I have more tips up my sleeve which I will reveal in the future, so make sure you subscribe by email to be notified of new posts!
Once you begin to build these bonds, you will see a noticeable difference in your classroom. Behaviour will improve, as will their respect and maybe even their passion for your subject as you have inspired them. You may even notice them excitedly waving at you as you walk past them in the corridor! But ultimately, you will feel much happier as this is the true passion behind teaching - inspiring and helping young people.
So fall in love with teaching all over again and show your students how much you care about them, beyond their grades.