One would easily expect that teachers express love spontaneously in the classroom, and therefore do not need guidance on how to love their students.
Although love may be an important quality for teachers to have, most education programs usually concentrate on teaching methods, and not on how to care for students. However, we all know that love needs to be present in the classroom and that without it, students would most likely do poorly.
Because teachers spend a lot of time with their students, the classroom can be considered a “little family” where relationships are built, and where the old maxim, “One for all and all for one” is seen at its best. Moreover, teachers try their best to teach their students to become caring members of their class, the same way parents strive to inculcate positivism in their children and to become contributing members of their family. These relationships are built with love, respect, fairness, and trust.
Whoever said, “Kids don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care” couldn’t have said it better and more accurately. Students, especially the very young ones, will never make the effort to truly be a part of the classroom community if they think they don’t matter.
It is a teacher’s role, therefore, to nurture a sense of belonging in each student while respecting his or her unique individuality. Teachers who can relate effectively to their students and provide them with a warm and loving learning environment can have a deeply positive effect on their academic formation (de la Rosa, 2005).
Here is where teachers must love their students, with a love that is nothing but unconditional. In no way, however, does this mean that teachers have to give in to their student’s every caprice or whim. We all remember teachers who helped and cared for us; we also remember teachers whose words and actions hurt us and caused us great harm.
Love or the lack of it greatly affects what happens in the classroom. Loving teachers spend time interacting with students, desire their well-being (Corbett & Wilson, 2002), and try to build relationships with them based on trust.
Loving teachers also facilitate the building of relationships when they give their students the impression that they are interested in their lives. In such a positive environment, students are more likely to learn, attend school, express creativity, and engage in problem solving than they would if they believed that their teachers were indifferent to them (Rogers, 1983).
In a nutshell, students need to see that teachers are human: that they make mistakes, get embarrassed, can joke around, and can remember what it was like to be a child. Studies show that students may do well without a loving teacher, but most do better with caring teachers who provide them with opportunities to engage with one another in the classroom as well as keep them motivated and on task by piquing their curiosity (Skinner & Belmont, 1993).
Education should go beyond the teaching curriculum; it should be about the educator loving each student, providing them with guidance, care, and knowledge in that order. A teacher should look beyond standardized tests and academics, and see the power they yield and the impact they have on their students with praise, smiles and hugs.
“Love comes in many forms inside a classroom,” said one teacher. And she continues to describe love inside a classroom thru a quote by Wink and Wink:
“What does the face of love look like in a classroom? It turns out that it is highly diverse. The face of love in a classroom can be deep and abiding respect for people and for learning; it can demonstrate safety. It can radiate a freedom to think, to grow, to question. The face of love for learning can be quiet, thoughtful, and reflective. Love can also be lively and fun. Love in the classroom is as diverse and complex as the learners and their needs and the perspectives, experiences and philosophies of the instructor. Love can connect the teacher, students and curriculum” (Wink, J., & Wink, D. (2004). Teaching passionately; what’s love got to do with it? Boston, MA: Pearson.
Just as parents share in loving, nurturing and caring their children, it the bittersweet job of a teacher to show unconditional love to his or her students in the hope that they, too, may learn how to show this same love to others.
And that, my dear parents, is what love should look like inside your child’s classroom.