We are educators because we care about our students. We care about who they are. We care about who they will become. We care about victories and their struggles. Their pride and their fears. And we own this. Those of us without our own children confuse people when we always talk about “our kids” because that’s exactly how we look at them.
Educators, our love and care must shine through now more than ever.
This is not just because our country just elected a man who represents so much of what we work so hard for our kids not to be. No one man has that much power. Our need to care and love our students needs to be at its max because we cannot normalize a world where they are living in fear that their family will be rounded up and sent away.
Where we talk about discriminating against entire religions, profiling entire races, and marginalizing people for their sexual orientation as matters of “common sense” or “American values” or “taking back our country.” And if the arc of world history has taught us anything, it’s taught us that just because certain views were more popular over time does not mean they were right. But it takes love and care to help our students and their families persevere through what may be very trying times.
You know who else needs love and care, educators?
Our students whose parents make up the majority of Americans who supported the winner. They need our love and care because so many of their parents have expressed their anger a system that does not love nor care for them. This trickles down in ugly ways, and can only be remedied with the love and care they are missing.
Educators, please understand that when we talk about love and care, it really doesn’t matter what you are feeling in your heart. No. We are talking about your actions. You demonstrating what it means to be loving. What it means to actually care. What does it really mean to actively love? To actively care? It means that we commit ourselves to our students and their families to be reliable. To have their backs, unconditionally. Having their backs sometimes means sacrificing yours, but that’s what it takes sometimes. Love and care means that we have to check ourselves, always, to make sure we put Maslov’s Hierarchy of Needs ahead of Bloom’s Taxonomy and Common Core Standards. Love and care means we never, ever give up on our students, even when it seems like they might be giving up on themselves.
But our love and care for our students will never be enough. Teaching students to love and care for each other is equally, if not more important. Algebra teachers must teach empathy and the quadratic equation. Science teachers must teach communication across lines of difference and single cell organisms. And because we know how geographically segregated we are, maybe we need to virtually reach out to other classrooms across the country (or in some cases, just a few blocks away) to give our students authentic opportunities to learn from and interact with students from different backgrounds and belief systems.
Lastly, and probably firstly, you have got to love and care for yourself and your colleagues. You need each other even on a regular day. You need each other even more on a day like today. Cry. Laugh. Dance. Sing. Do whatever it takes to fill yourself up, because you have no choice but to pour so much of yourself out.
It is the day after. But it is also a new day. So educators, let’s get to work, being the loving and caring teachers our students need us to be!
Stop by our Facebook Page and let us know how your love and care for your students will shine through now more than ever!
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