Moving Beyond the Walls of Your Classroom: Why Relationships with Colleagues Matter

Katie MiglinBlog, Connect Better, Engage Better, Manage Better, Self Care Better


  • Some teaching days are great and some are hard. Having colleagues to talk to helps.
  • Building relationships with colleagues can give you a network to problem solve with.
  • Short conversations can change your day and plant the seed of a strong relationship.
  • Take the chance to build relationships with colleagues.

RINNNGGG! The end of the day is finally here. You wave goodbye to your last student and head to your desk. You take a deep breath. Why did today feel so long? Why were the students so hyper today? I wonder if they were like that for anyone else? Ugh… that parent email is still in my inbox. I don’t even know what to say to them. 

Ever have these moments? Some days you feel like you have conquered the world. Your lessons were killer; the students were engaged; you even got a positive message from a parent. And yet other days, teaching is hard. Like really hard. Where do you go? Who do you turn to? Too often our work comes home with us both physically and emotionally. We hear it all the time, “teaching is personal” but what does that really mean? Rather than carrying the weight of teaching all on your shoulders, let some other people help. And who better to assist than those who are in the building with you?

A small, 3 minute conversation can change the course of your day and can plant the seed of a strong relationship. Click To Tweet

After my second year of teaching, I was told that I was moving to a new school in my district that would be set to open in August. That meant that I would be leaving the school I had not only started my career in, but also the one that I student taught in.

I. Was. Devastated.

I knew the systems. I knew the routines. Mostly, I knew the people. I had colleagues who had turned into family. This meant starting over. 

August came and I was beyond nervous. Sure, I knew how to teach. It was the same grade and subject as my previous school. But the students were not the concern…it was the adults. Early on, I did my best to smile when I would pass a colleague in the hall. Eventually, it grew into “Hey, I’m running to the office. Need anything?” Overtime, I found myself stopping to talk about kids, pets, or social events with my coworkers. 

While I was creating relationships with these newfound friends, I was actually growing within myself. Because what would sometimes be a “How was your weekend?” would other times be a “I’m really struggling with this student. Any advice?” These relationships helped me become vulnerable within my teaching and gave me a network to problem solve with. Because I invested in the relationship on a personal level, it didn’t feel so awkward to ask for help when the printer wouldn’t work or an email needed to be reviewed. 

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While most would call me an extrovert, you do not have to be to develop strong peer relationships in a workplace. You just have to practice. Rather than eating lunch at your desk, maybe go to the teacher’s lounge. Smile. Say, “Hello.” Ask if anyone is going to the school play. Check in on someone if you noticed they were out a few days. A small, 3 minute conversation can change the course of your day and can plant the seed of a strong relationship. 

Teaching is personal, but does not have to be done on an island. Allow yourself the freedom to ask for help, get advice or just share a funny moment with the people you spend a lot of time with. Take the chance and start building relationships with your colleagues. You will be glad you did. I know I am.

About Katie Miglin

Katie Miglin was a former classroom teacher of 13 years in the middle school setting. She taught 7th grade for all thirteen years with a few sections of 6th and 8th grade sprinkled throughout. Her experience includes teaching Writing and Math. During her time in the schools, Katie has held a variety of roles including Fellowship of Christian Athletes Huddle Leader, Curriculum Chair, Drama Club Director, and PBIS Tier 1 Coach. She has also been a part of the building leadership team, community outreach team, and before school program.

Katie is now working for the Teach Better Team as the Director of Curriculum and Instruction. In this role, Katie coordinates several events including the 12 Hour Live and the Teach Better Conference, as well as provides professional development for school districts. Through this position, Katie has had the pleasure of connecting with other educators from all over the world and has loved meeting innovative and hardworking people from all walks of life.

While working has always brought Katie joy, her true love is at home with her husband, 2 daughters and dog. She loves working out, reading, and doing anything that involves the outdoors.