Write the word “Trust” on the board. Ask your students to take a minute and reflect on what trust means to them, where it’s important, and if it’s important in the classroom. You can have them write down some ideas on paper if you wish.
Tell them to share their ideas with a partner.
Now ask the class if they trust you. Hopefully, they say yes . Tell them that you trust all of them and that you are going to prove it to them. Ask them to volunteer a couple ways in which you might do this.
Ask a volunteer to come to the front. Tell them that you are going to fall and that they have to catch you.
Do a practice run so they get a feel for your weight and so they can get the positioning down right. The volunteer should place their hands firmly on your shoulder blades with the fingertips points up (this is very important because the wrists are weak and if they do it the opposite way they could drop you), bend their knees in a tripod fashion, and get themselves squarely under you. See the above picture (although this example has two people supporting which is a good idea for heavier individuals).
Lean backward into them and have them take you farther and farther down each time.
Now tell them you will do it for real. You need to keep your eyes closed, your legs straight, and cross your arms in front of you like the guy in the picture. Then just tip backwards. It’s a bit scary, but the volunteer will catch you.
Now switch positions and do the same with them.
Each student now grabs a partner and they start of with some practice runs and then do the real thing. Warning: Make sure partners are of about equal weight. If there is a really big person in the class, you can do it with two people supporting, one at each shoulder blade. Have them change partners a few times.
You can now do a reflective writing or a round table discussion on how they felt during the exercise. What did they learn about themselves and each other? Is it easy to trust others? Why or why not? In what ways do we need to trust each other in the classroom?
This activity is great for building up relationships in the class and fostering trust. I highly recommend it for any class.
Building Relationships 1: Tank Game
Building Relationships 2: Human Knot
Building Relationships 4: Circle of Trust