Love is the best teacher.
(Pliny the Younger, Epistulae 4.19.4—adapted)
(pron = ah-mohr mah-ghee-ster ehst ohp-tee-moos)
Comment: There is teaching which is technically and objectively “correct”, and
there is teaching that makes a connection. It is difficult to put into words
what the difference is, but students know when they encounter this difference.
We rarely use the word “love” in education to talk about this difference, but it
is not a bad word to use.
There are days when I’m pretty sure that I’ve covered all my bases, and
therefore covered my own backside—just in case anyone has been looking. I
could successfully argue that I’ve done my job and that any deficit belongs to
the student. There are other days when something human happens in my
classroom, when I have shifted a bit from what I had planned so that what I had
planned connects with the people who are actually in front of me. Such a
connection feels different. There is an electricity around what we are doing.
There is an energy coming from students that says—hey, I get this! (student
lingo for “I am understanding and intelligent—I know what I am doing!).
I like to think I am always aiming for the latter. I don’t think aiming for it,
though, takes me there. I am finding that the only thing that can make me a
more loving, humane teacher and human being is to practice this humanity on
myself, first. Then, I know what it looks like, and I can offer that in my
classroom. It’s a slow process. On the days when I know I have missed the
mark, I missed it long before any lesson started. Something, that day,
interfered with my own ability to look in the mirror and accept myself wholly.
So, I have already come to my classroom withholding the acceptance that is
necessary for real learning to take place. And on those days, it just does not
So, as strange as it may sound, the most important part of any lesson that I
plan is that moment each morning when I first look in the mirror. It all flows
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day is now available on the web.