Love of a Teacher

Sunday night a church a fellow choir member explained to me that teachers had been on their mind since Friday. The amount of responsibility we take on in addition to ourselves seems overwhelming to them in this day and age. What would we do if that happened here?

I, too, have been reflecting on just what teachers are the last couple days. When I first started teaching, I had a co-worker who had a parent tell them they didn’t love their child. That a teacher shouldn’t even say that they loved students. Teachers don’t love students; teachers just teach students.


 

The “l” word is a touchy word in education. I, personally, don’t use the “l” word in relation to students at school. In our society, a non-related adult “loving” a child is considered a sign of something wrong.

Still, especially as a new teacher, I was surprised that a parent would feel that way about a teacher.

Sometimes teachers get bad raps. See, we have responsibilities to meet as teachers and sometimes that means we do things that everyone doesn’t agree with or like.

Sometimes I assign homework. Sometimes I expect students to work independently. Sometimes I expect students to work cooperatively. Sometimes I ask students to read things they don’t particularly like. All the time I expect students to take responsibility for their actions, words, and work. All the time I expect students to respect themselves and everyone else in our classroom. All the time I expect students to do their absolute best according to their individual ability.

I take my job as a teacher seriously. I tell my students frequently that they will have more knowledge and skills at the end of the year than they did at the beginning. It’s a promise I make them. They will leave my class stronger than they entered it. I will not waste their time. I will not expect less of them than they are capable of.

My class isn’t always fun…actually, most of my students would tell you it’s never fun. All we do is learn and work, and it’s hard.

My students would also tell you that my class is “safe”. Everyone is treated the same. Everyone is expected to respect each other all the time. Everyone is allowed, and encouraged, to be wrong. (I’d much rather students be willing to take a risk and fail then never take the risk and know they were right. So much of the learning process takes place in our mistakes and failures!)

What my students might not be able to tell you or even know, my own children could tell you.

Friday night at dinner my teenagers were discussing the teacher who saved the boy they saw interviewed on tv. They were discussing how teachers were required to do that if a situation like that arose or they would be fired. To which a debate ensued over whether teachers could be fired for not “saving” students in this kind of situation.

The conversation turned to me.

“Mom would save as many kids as she could for as long as she could whether she had to or not. She feels guilty for not doing more to save kids from things she has no control over. She wouldn’t be able to live with herself if she didn’t do everything possible to save them all.”

The dinner conversation got quiet after that. Self, spouse, and both kids know this to be true. I am a protector by nature. I would do everything in my power to save as many people as possible. Even if it meant I didn’t go home at the end of the day.

No one wants to think about that, but we did. I’m pretty confident that was the same thought process the comment at church stemmed from.

“Would you be willing to risk your own life to save a bunch of kids that aren’t even yours?”

The truth is they are mine the first time they walk through that classroom door. They don’t have to like my subject, like me, be a great student, have a great personality, or have any other qualifying characteristic. I would do everything within my power to protect my kids every day of the week.

I spend a lot of hours a day thinking about my students. How to better reach them in the classroom, who has needs that extend beyond the classroom, how to move them from where they are to beyond where they think they can go…I am seriously invested in the lives of my students. I don’t think the majority of them could tell you that. They don’t know how deeply I care.

I’m a teacher. Yes, I’m responsible for teaching a specified curriculum to a specified group of students each year. However, more importantly, I got into this profession because I like kids and care about their welfare.

Do teachers love their students?

It most definitely wouldn’t be PC to do so, but I’m more of a JC follower than a PC stick in the mud.


Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friend. John 15:13
 

I’ve not been put in a life or death situation before, so it’s hard to say for certain how I’d react. Although those who know me best have no hesitation in how I’d respond. I think it has been shown in various school tragedies that teachers do put themselves between their students and danger, and that, my friend, is the greatest example of love.photo credit: quinn.anyahttp://www.flickr.com/photos/quinnanya/6474803835/”>quinn.anya
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