When I sit down to have a conversation with a student about choices, I think so often about the times I was “in trouble” in school, and how much better I’d have responded – and about the potential wing-spreading I could have done – if someone had sat down and related to me.
We have such power, and to cling to it and wield it is tyrannical. We must seek at every turn, in every interaction with every child, to give them the power. To ask them, invite them, to express themselves, and ask questions, and meaningfully seek greater understanding. Every moment is teachable, because every moment, they are learning.
To see tears welling in eyes recede, as the Sword of Damocles fails to drop and a whole invitation to a world of acceptance, kindness, thoughtfulness, reflection, and FREE CHOICE opens before them, brings me, at times, to tears.
I love children, authentically, and demand that all teachers love them.
We cannot afford to lose one moment of one day, with even one child, to our adult vanity, expedience, systemized thinking, antiquated notions, or harshness. There is no such thing as too much love for children, and I count myself in the most fortunate and critical situation to understand this and the mountainous research that supports it, and to be able to practice my craft to send healed little ones back into the world, having learned a lesson free of harshness.
There is no substitute for love. Not discipline. Not structure. Not hardness. Not consequence. There is NO substitute for love. It must be our foundation, or we are absolutely in the wrong place, as pedagogues.