Being liked.

I am back in the classroom.

Writing that is akin to writing that I am back home. After a long hiatus that brought me through high school, adult ed, and teacher professional development I am back in an elementary school and it sure feels fine.

I am reminded of old posts I wrote on this blog about the role of relationship in teaching and I will definitely continue along that theme because without it, where is learning?

Specifically, I’m reminded of a post I wrote about something Michael Wesch said,as cited byStephen Downes,years ago. Get a cup of coffee, it’s a longish quote:

…her hairdresser said, “Love your audience and they’ll love you back.” Instead of focusing on self, she focused on the beauty of the audience and the whole event. And I allowed myself to do the same thing.

I never let that leave me. I would start with that. I would start with loving my students. And it’s striking how much my teaching has changed in five years, as a result of that. It’s basically about shifting from getting people to love you, to you loving them. It has four parts (Fromm, 1956):
– caring
– responsibility
– respect
– knowledge

It requires all four. For example, caring without the rest is like patronizing. Respect without the rest is idolizing. The four together are true long. And focusing on that, instead of focusing on your performance, opens you up to your audience. It makes the walls go away.

What I know about teaching & learning is that yes, learning is hard to get at it if the student doesn’t like their teacher.

But teaching is not about being liked. It is about loving our students. Within the context of whatever it is they are learning with us, but foremost it is about loving them.

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