Do we need Love in Education?

So today I would like to talk about Love in Education.

“WHAT NO WAY are you mad?” I hear you say. Why not; why would you not love your job as an educator? Why not love your darling Johnnys or Tamaras in your care? They are such sweeties you say, ah but do you ACTUALLY see them as they are?

What about when they are being disruptive, not taking any notice of what you are asking-telling-yelling at them. What about when they talk back at you, being disrespectful of you as an educator or disrespectful of others in the class. Even when they seem so upset, unable to complete their work because they think they can’t do it so they don’t even try.

One of the most frequent starts to a conversation I have from an anxious student asking a question is “You must think I’m stupid but…” I used to say “Oh don’t worry” or “No, I don’t think that” but the same comment came so often and so frequently I asked myself why? Not “why are they stupid?” but I actually asked MYSELF that question – “Do I think I am stupid?”

On consideration, deep inside me I remembered saying this to a colleague who I judged to be more educated and knowledgeable than myself; I could even hear myself saying it to a professor when I was at college. This is the backbone of the SEJ – questioning your own thought and then process it through the structured and defined SEJ steps and you will find that the thought is a lie.

I have also investigated my thoughts and beliefs about these students with the practice of the SEJ process. Upon reflection I caught myself saying to them “You should know this”, “Why can’t you recall what I taught you last week/last year?…”, “Haven’t you learnt this at school?” Really, it is no wonder they think they are stupid if I keep believing and saying these things to them…

So I made a decision and a promise to myself. Never again would I say “you should…” – instead I would actually make a point of asking what was troubling them in the first place. I decided that I would see students as individuals needing help in some way. If they have taken the trouble and time to seek me out for some reason, who am I not to help them out? This is LOVE; this is seeing them without judgement. This is what being an educator means to me.

This simple but powerful change in my perception- to see the students as they are, rather than as how I think they should be- has had a profound effect on my teaching and tutoring role. We have honest and open conversations; we have trust and joy in our teaching/learning partnership – for that is what education is: partnership.

Please don’t ignore this, for how can we possibly teach anything if we cannot ‘see’ the people in front of us? This seeing comes from empowering ourselves by seeking the underlying beliefs and thoughts we have about others and more importantly about ourselves. The SEJ can help you to cut through the lies of the mind; it will empower you and thus empower those you connect with. I wish you all the best- I wish you love and joy in your education.

Dr M Howard-Kishi

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