I am beginning my 30th year in schools. I’ve been at my current school 20 years but this is only my third year in my current position so the new hasn’t worn off yet. I still love what I do. I made the change because I stopped loving what I was doing before. I still love my students. That hasn’t changed in 30 years. If it does I will quit.
Here is my version of the Love Chapter (I Cor. 13) for the first day of school:
If I become an expert in my field of study, but don’t love my students and communicate love for the subjects I teach I am a blabbering interruption or persistent annoyance.
If I develop discipline strategies that result in complete compliance to the rules,
If my brilliant curriculum, pedagogy, and communication skills result in all my students attaining perfect scores on their college entrance exams,
If my work and professionalism are exemplary, but I don’t love my students and communicate love for the subjects I teach, I am nothing.
If I sacrifice any semblance of a life because I am always at school, and if I get an award at the end of the year because of my dedication, but don’t love my students and communicate love for the subjects I teach, I gain nothing.
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous, critical, proud, or rude. Love does not demand it’s own way but adapts to the way each student learns.
Love is not irritable and keeps no record of being wronged, even when the wrong feels kind of personal.
Love does not rejoice in injustice or vengeance, but rejoices when the truth wins out, even when the student or parent turns out to be right. Love never gives up on a student. Love never loses faith in a student.
Love is always hopeful that something will ignite a student’s desire to learn. Love keeps offering new information and experiences to help the most resistant, rebellious student connect with the subject.
Textbooks, grades, rules, and even the College Board will become obsolete in eternity, but love will last forever. Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete but then we will understand with perfect clarity.
We now see information like preschoolers compared with the amazing synthesis of knowledge we will enjoy. When we perceive the subjects we teach the way that God perceives them, the “self-actualization” peak on Maslow’s hierarchy will blow like a volcano.
When school is over students will be forever impacted by teachers who had faith in them, who hoped they would be engaged and excited about learning and life, and who loved them. Love has greater eternal consequence for students than anything else.