Relationships – Still – Rule

Alex Kajitani at event

If attendees walked away with one important takeaway from BARR Center’s event featuring speaker, author, and California Teacher of the Year Alex Kajitani, it’s that: Relationships still rule. Kajitani kicked off the experience talking about educators’ courage and commitment as they’ve navigated continuous changes since COVID. Check out the full event recording!

During the experience, Kajitani aimed to inspire and provide strategies to educators that they could bring right back to their classroom, whether that is online or in-person. He talked about the importance of relationships in helping students and teachers get to know each other, establishing trust and helping students achieve their goals. 

“Let’s help them [students] to get to know your stories, as well as your surroundings,” said Kajitani.

He shared how it is critical for teachers to share who they are, to build a rapport and encourage students to tell their stories. When teachers take the time to understand their students, it can be transformational for success in the classroom and beyond. Whether teachers are working with students online or in-person, Kajtani emphasized how teachers should continue making sure they understand their students’ interests, living situations and cultural identity. 

“Every year the students are different, and it’s on us to get to know them in order to build that relationship,” said Kajitani. 

Throughout the experience, Kajitani also gave a shout out to BARR schools for their impressive accomplishments with working on strengthening relationships within their schools! He talked about how we need to continue focusing on self-care, while also supporting our colleagues to create a healthy environment. 

“Instead of self-care, the real key is moving toward caring for each other and that’s really the key to reducing burnout,” said Kajitani.

While Kajitani acknowledged the obstacles educators have faced this past year, he spoke optimistically about COVID creating an opportunity to revitalize education moving forward. 

“The future is hybrid,” said Kajitani.

The event closed with a reflective time to consider how to use new lessons from COVID and create a thriving environment for students in this new reality. He mentioned that while much has changed, strengthening relationships should continue to be a number one priority in supporting each and every student.

BARR is excited to share that there will be another opportunity to hear more from Kajitani during the BARR Conference Spring 2022.