Love is not a word we often feel allowed to use in education. But it’s there. Of course it’s there.
As educators, we (usually at some point do or have) love our subject and many of us love our jobs – at least the teaching bit – hence why we chose to do this work.
We also, in our own appropriate ways must love, or at least care very much, for our students. We work many unpaid hours overtime; we give up lunchtimes (or lunch for that matter), we do extra after-school clubs for free, we nip to get resources at the weekend to make that lesson extra special – and pay for them ourselves, we buy snacks for students whom we know won’t have had breakfast that day, we provide biscuits for stressed out year 13s…
Revered Buddhist Monk Geshe Kelsang Gyatso says:
“When things are going well, and people are kind and treat us with respect, it is not difficult to wish for them to be happy. However, if our love diminishes as soon as they cause us problems or fail to appreciate us, this indicates that our love is not pure.”*
I have witnessed countless inspirational colleagues continue to care and try when a pupil (or, if they are unfortunate enough, a whole class) does not appreciate them and causes havok. In fact, as educators it feels like the unwritten part of the job description: you will need to teach people who appear to hate you and will do anything to cause problems for you that disrupt your neatly prepared lesson plan – and yet, and yet…you will, out of compassion, stubbornness or another untouchable force: love?
Recently, a pupil physically hurt me. This student has various complex Emotional Behavioural Difficulties and needs. It was clear that it wasn’t actually me they were hitting, kicking and punching – it was a vent of frustration, a cry for help, a test of my trust and safety – and at one point they were unable to control themselves. Without love, understanding and patience for that pupil I could not have continued to teach them. I do and I want to. They were causing themselves far more mental pain than they were to me, this was evident later when they deliberately sought me out, hung their head low, welled up and apologised. Then the love was easier to feel: my appreciation was huge. I realised how much ego-deflating and reflection that apology must have taken. This pupil hadn’t wanted to hurt me – maybe they cared about me too, in a way.
Yr 7 and Yr 8 Sex and Relationship lesson resources available here
6 Week Schemes of Work
Planned using SRE guidelines.
Designed to be led by non-PSHE teachers in form time – approx 15-20mins each lesson. suitable for SEND adaptable for EAL
Each lesson comes with Teacher’s Notes on timing and adaptability.
* Eight Steps to Happiness – Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, Tharpa Publications, 2008
**Interestingly, this seems to be different in other cultures. Linda Cliatt-Wayman makes a particularly inspiring case for love in her TED talk: How to fix a broken school? Lead fearlessly, love hard.