Relationships That Work : Four Ways to Connect (and Set Boundaries) with Colleagues, Students, and Parents book cover
1st Edition

Relationships That Work
Four Ways to Connect (and Set Boundaries) with Colleagues, Students, and Parents

ISBN 9781138843035
Published July 8, 2015 by Routledge
144 Pages

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Book Description

Teaching is an extremely gratifying profession, but it can also be draining if you don’t have fulfilling relationships and the ability to avoid toxic, negative people. This unique book, written by bestselling author and psychologist Adam Sáenz and child/adolescent therapist Jeremy Dew, shows you how to increase job satisfaction and personal fulfilment by connecting with others. You’ll learn about the relationships you can forge with students, colleagues, and parents to foster a healthy and life-changing learning environment, while also avoiding social and personal stress. In particular, you’ll uncover how to:

  • Build bridges to connect with students in a positive manner, making a difference in their lives.
  • Interact with colleagues and parents in productive ways.
  • Examine and evaluate your professional relationships.
  • Build fences to protect yourself from harm or frustration and remain relationally engaged.
  • Manage your emotions effectively, and learn how to express and direct them appropriately in the classroom.

Throughout each chapter, you’ll find strategies, reflection questions, and assessment tools to help you apply the book’s concepts. Relationships That Work is an essential read for teachers at all grade levels who want not only to educate but also to guide, nurture, encourage, and form deep, long-lasting bonds.

Table of Contents

Introduction: A Tale of Two Campuses

Chapter 1: The Case for Relationships

Great Programming Skills: But Can You Interact With Other Humans?

What Is Normal Versus What Is Healthy

Characteristics of Unhealthy Relationships

We Are Here to Help You

Reflecting: What Am I Doing Here?

Directing: How Do I Manage My Emotions?

Connecting: Can I Build a Bridge?

Protecting: Can I Build a Fence?

The Case of the Teacher Who Exploded

Chapter 2: Reflecting: Why Am I Here?

Jobs, Careers, and Callings

A Bit More About Calling

Meet Martha

Identifying Your Right Why

Identifying My Calling: A Sentence Completion Exercise

Two More Sentences: Creating Your Personal Mission Statement

Sample Sentence Completion Responses

Personal Mission Statement

How Reflecting On Calling Impacts Relationships

Key Point Summary

Chapter 3: Directing: Can I Manage My Emotions?

Emotional Constipation

Experiencing Emotions

Expressing Emotions

Meet Ms. Dunn

The Environment/Feeling/Thought Connection

How Directing Impacts Relationships

Key Point Summary

Chapter 4: Connecting: Can I Build A Bridge?

About Good Bridge Builders

Differences and the Protective Mechanism They Evoke

Do You Feel Like We Do (And See Like We Do?)

Looking Past The Thing About You That Bothers Me

Meet Coach Williams

Connecting and Bridge-Building: A Readiness Assessment

Key Point Summary

Chapter 5: Protecting: Can I Build a Fence?

What is Building a Fence in Relationships?

About the Unskilled Fence Builder

What Is and Is Not Mine?

The Case of the Two Teachers

Protecting and Fence-Building: A Readiness Assessment

Key Point Summary

Chapter 6: Towards Integration

Practice #1: Reflecting on calling

Practice #2: Directing my emotion

Practice #3: Connecting by building bridges across difference

Practice #4: Protecting by building fences

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Adam Sáenz is Founder and Clinical Director of the Oakwood Collaborative, a counseling and assessment center in Bryan, Texas.

Jeremy Dew is a licensed professional counselor who works with children and adolescents.


"In this inspiring gem of a book, Sáenz and Dew provide a powerful reminder that it is educators, more than education, that change lives. The identity checks and practical exercises in each chapter allow teachers to more deeply understand their core calling and examine their motivations for becoming an educator."

--Kirsten Baesler, North Dakota State Superintendent

"Every educator repeatedly hears, 'It is all about relationships.' While this is undeniably true, details on how to accomplish this are often lacking. In Relationships that Work, Sáenz and Dew provide guidance that is both specific and inspirational. This resource will help every educator reach students who most need meaningful connections to school."

--Randy Sprick, Ph.D., Director, Safe & Civil Schools