Suggestions for Establishing Good Relationship with Students
Patience is the key to allow time for students to adapt in a new setting. While students learn the ways of life in the USA, it is important that you endure their ignorance and guide them accordingly.
A Matter of Time
In many countries, it is polite to arrive later than the scheduled time. Students might be accustomed to being late. Arranging an earlier time than required at first could help the students get better with their punctuality. It can be expected that the srudents inform about any cancellation of the planned meeting ahead of time.
What to Wear
Normally, students dress casual for home visits. If you are inviting them for any special occassions, it is good to inform and explain the dress code. The students might also require specific details of what type of clothes represent certain dress codes. Also, if your family is uncomfortable with certain dressing styles, it is better to give a polite comment to the students. Also, suggestions for what to buy according to different weather conditions might be helpful for students for purchasing clothes.
Let the students know beforehand if you say your thanksgiving prayers before meals. This will create awareness to not start eating the food right away. It is rude in some cultures to ask food for the second time. Moreover, some students do not finish their food right away since clearing the plate means that they want more. Talk about the cultures to know the reasons behind different behaviour during meals. Also, mention any specific customs that you follow at home, including any table manners.
Conversation and Difficulty in Understanding
You need to realize that almost all the students that you are assigned to are not necessarily native English speakers. They might even have difficulties understanding you. Try to slow down on your speaking pace and ask them if they follow what you are talking about. Also be willing to listen to and understand their ideas. Try to engage students in conversations about topics of your interest such as the environment, education, politics and religion.
If your family actively takes art in religious activities, you might want to invite your students to attend any services. Care should be taken that it is clear that you do not intend to force the students to be a member of your religion. It is always a better idea to share about your religion and beliefs and ask students about their religion too.
As a formality in different cultures, students might bring gifts everytime they visit your home. It might be rude to reject them. You can politely accept the gifts, and if it makes you unconfortable to do so all the time, it is good to let them know that it is not obligatory to bring gifts for every visit.