Do You Love Kids?
Teachers throw the word “love” around quite a bit when it comes to our students. I suppose it’s natural, when you spend more of your hours in a given day interacting with teenagers than you do with your own peers, to try to find a framing or emotional resonance that feels rewarding. It probably also helps build the personal connections upon which I believe a lot of learning to be based. I’ve even heard people say that if you don’t “love kids” then you have no business in education. And I’m not sure I qualify on that criteria. Do I…
Want to change the historical injustices and inequalities in how education has been offered? Definitely.
Believe that my students’ education is a critical factor in creating the world I want to live in? Deeply.
See their future as inextricably bound to mine? Inevitably.
Work to help them succeed? Quite a lot.
Love them? I don’t know about that.
Now I know there are many teachers who say they love their students, without hesitation, and without any insincerity. I respect those people. I see a lot of them who are very good teachers. What I’m wondering is if it’s necessary. When we say it in this context, do we just mean “care deeply”? Or is there some other emotional component that’s necessary for effective and compassionate education? Am I just asking the unanswerable question, “What is love?” in a different context? I’m curious to hear anyone’s reactions.