Do we have to love our students?

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Over the last few weeks I have been thinking a lot about the latest statistics on teacher attrition (the latest statistic is that a new teacher lasts on average less than five years).  I have been wondering how much of this has to do with the condition of our hearts.

Is it the teacher who has a big heart who makes the distance or are they the ones who ultimately become heart-broken and end up leaving disillusioned and hurt?

Do a quick Google search for ‘teacher quotes’ and you will quickly find large numbers of quotes that talk about the teachers heart or they way in which a teacher sacrifices themselves for the betterment of their students.  In the last week here are 3 quotes that have been emailed to me:

“God gave teachers a slightly bigger heart than the average person, for the teacher’s heart needs to be big enough to love the kid who screams ‘this is boring’…

A good teacher is like a candle – it consumes itself to light the way for others.

I would thank you from the bottom of my heart, but for you my heart has no bottom.

One of my favourite quotes is:

“They may not remember what you said, but they will remember how you made them feel”

I must confess that I’m not the ‘touchy feely’ type, nor am I the type of teacher who becomes emotionally attached to their students, but my teaching style is very much based on relationship.

In fact I would go as far as to say that I think that one of my greatest assets as a teacher is my ability to quickly build rapport with students and teach based on this connection, but I have also found that the more I teach this way the more I open my heart to disappointment and discouragement.

I was speaking at a school staff development day a couple of weeks ago and one of the questions that came up time and again in the conversations in the break was “what are some practical ways we can guard our heart and not become a statistic?”

In the next post we will look at strategies on how we can do this.

What do you think? What ways do you guard your heart without becoming heartless?

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