The Podcast: On Love and Teaching

Twice in the last forty eight hours, the subjects of love and of teaching have been juxtaposed in conversation I’ve overheard. I’m pretty thick, but I feel like I should pay attention to the synchronicity.

Here’s the first, from a video I was listening to Sunday ((I’m on a serious Mr. Rogers kick right now.  Both his show with my kids and his thoughts and ideas for me.  And it’s good for me.  If you want to catch the full interview, which I’d highly encourage, here it is. The quote’s about six minutes in.)) while I folded and sorted laundry:

That hit me so hard I had to put the laundry down and pull out a computer so that I could get it down.

And here’s the second:

Caught that as I was getting into the car Monday afternoon ((You can catch the interview that I heard here. I can’t grab his book right now, which sounds important.  But it’s on my list.)).  Again, had to jot that down.

Two times, in two days, teaching’s all about love.  And that resonates with me right now.  Deeply.  And I wonder if we don’t have enough love at school.

I don’t mean the “leave room for the Holy Spirit” at the school dance kind of love, or the awkward sideways hug kind of love or the “uh oh in the newspaper” kind of love.  I mean this kind: Respect.  Kindness.  Compassion.  Acceptance.  Admiration.  Awe.  The kind that young men in our culture are supposed to eliminate from their persons at around age eleven.  You know.  When they “grow up.”

In today’s podcast, I flesh out that idea, and a few ideas raised by it, further.  I mention Dean and his podcast and the quotes I’ve already shared with you.  I’d love, ahem, to hear your take on this.

I suspect I’ve more to say on the subject. Hopefully, you do, too.

Direct Link to Audio

12 thoughts on “The Podcast: On Love and Teaching

  1. Jeremy M. says:

    This is an extremely important conversation that I think all educators should be having.

    Let me clarify my use of the word “sacred” back in Dean’s post. When I used sacred, in my mind, I was referring to more of a power than perhaps an emotion. I think that all to often love (emotion) can be confused for pleasure, gratification, things that are often momentary or temporary or perhaps trivial. In my life, the things that I love empower me. That can range from the love I have for my wife and children to the love that I have for food and certain recreation.

    I was fortunate to grow up in a house, even with a “traditional” setting–dad works & mom cooks, cleans, and raises the kids–I heard the word love used regularly. Both my parents would tell us how much they loved us at least once a day. It never became worn out or insincere. I still end phone conversations with my brother and sisters with, “Love you bro.” or “Love ya sis.” And I mean it every time. (My wife still thinks it’s weird.)

    On occasions I have felt the need to share a very similar love with my students. I let them know how much I care for and love them. I do use the word empower with them as well because each of them make me want to be better at what I do–not for my own gain, but for their growth and learning.

    I made the comment earlier that I love food. I truly do. It is empowering to me. I enjoy the experience of cooking or the atmosphere of dining out. The social aspect of food plays a big part in that for me too. May seem weird, but I love food.

    But like you said, Bud, we need to share more of that love and not feel so ashamed or embarrassed or even silly for doing so. I love what I do and I hope people see that in my attitude towards my students and my work. I love each of my students. I can’t help but smile when I walk into the room each morning and they’re waiting for me. Me. I’m not that cool of a guy, you know me somewhat. But I know those students, to some degree, share in that power.

  2. Catherine Laguna says:

    I’ve been thinking of that NPR quote since hearing it as well! Today there was also an interesting interview about the way we speak and how we covey a smile to a listener when we are smiling as we talk. When we love what we are doing students not only see it but respond to the smile in our voices! A positive response will only come from sincere smiling and not from a forced smile which only conveys sarcasm. So, here’s to tuning out the negative messages about education in the media and focussing on the students, subjects, and profession that we love! :0)

  3. Jeremy M. says:

    Great point Catherine. You can always pick out the forced smiles. And you’re right, students know when you’re sincere. There is nothing like that spark that happens when two smiles connect.

  4. I love synchronicity. Just before I saw Dean’s post, I sent John Norton a possible post for Voices on The Words Matter–all about sharin’ the love. We don’t have enough of it…thanks for this.

  5. Bud Hunt says:

    I believe I neglected to include the reference for the Educon presentation on the Caring Classroom that Zac, John and I facilitated. Here’s the frame – pay special attention to the five areas of care. I think those are important to think about.

  6. Stephanie says:

    I recently responded to a blog post by one of my students compalining about seniuoritis and the lack of relevancy our AP Lit course had for him. He wanted to be working on his reume and reading worls news instead. This is an excerpt from my response:

    I believe with my entire being that the most important thing for us as human beings to do is to love each other. However, there is no BA degree in love and no course in a high school to teach called Love 101. The closest thing I found was literature. Through literature we broaden our human experience, we engage in moral struggle, we reflect on our own choices as we experience those made by others. This allows our hearts to grow capable of compassion and kindness beyond what our individual experiences could ever provide. And, at the same time, we are able to be provoked and soothed by the artistry of literature, by the crafting of a text. To say literature is pointless is to say all art is pointless. Then, imagination and dreams are not far behind. Why bother with pretend? Let’s read the newspaper and build our resumes! If all we do is live in the now and the real, how do we ever grow? I’m sorry, but a world without possibility is not the world I want to live in.

    In a recent department meeting, we were discussing a chapter from Marzano’s The Art and Science of Teaching on developing positive relationships with students. In the chapter, he encourages emotional objectivity and viewing students primarily as young learners. The advice I usually give to new teachers is different. I often tell them that their students are people first, students second.

    I don’t know how anyone does this job without love at the very core of their practice. Love of their subject and love of their students. When you have that, the magic happens.

  7. When you love what you do…you Shine. This attracts many others to you, and creates an enormous ripple effect. Great post, and follow ups. Thanks for the good reading! May we all Shine On!

  8. Abigail says:

    I am a sophomore in college and a middle level education major. Most of what we learn in class is about the political side of things. The love of teaching, the love of the subject matter that you’re presenting, and the love of students is not bound by politics or budgets. I just finished the observation block of my education course and to build off of Catherine’s comment, the eye contact and facial reaction you get from students is so key. Without it, your message is lost. Students are so tuned in to the emotional state of a classroom and they act on that. They know what teacher really cares about them, and what teacher does not. Thank you for your podcast. This is exactly the message that students like me, who are on our way to becoming teachers ourselves, need to hear more.

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