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I have yet to meet a teacher who doesn't say he or she loves his or her students.  What I have noticed, though, is that some do a better job than others at expressing that love.  Love is only as powerful as it is felt.

Last night I was talking with my daughter, Kaitlin, who has been home sick the past several days leading up to Christmas break. I told her that her German 5 teacher, Frau Fowler, had sent home a quiz that I could proctor over break.  I mentioned that I had told Frau Fowler that she needn't worry about me helping Kaitlin since I can't speak German.  Frau Fowler's reply was that she trusted her students.  When I told this to Kaitlin, Kaitlin replied, "Frau Fowler loves us."

I made a joke to the effect of, "Perhaps that's just what she tells you!"  Kaitlin's reply to my lame joke spoke volumes.

Kaitlin said, "No, she really loves us.  All the teachers I've ever had have been really nice people.  I have liked all of them.  But the best teachers are the ones who can really make you work, can control the classroom, and let you know they love you at the same time.  Frau Fowler does everything I've ever heard you say makes a great teacher."

I don't know everything Frau Fowler does to communicate love for her students.  I'm pretty sure it's overt, though, because I don't think kids tend to read love into the fact that we work hard and try to do a good job.  Love is powerful.  But love is only as powerful as it is felt by its recipients.  What good does it do to love your students if they don't know it?

While I don't know everything Frau Fowler does to communicate love, I do know some things she does.  

  • She takes students to a local nursing home to perform German folk dances for Alzheimer's patients thus communicating that she wants them to use what they learn to serve others.  
  • She tells students she trusts them.
  • She sends Christmas cards to their families.
  • She tells their parents she's worried about them when they're sick.  
  • She doesn't complain about standards stifling creativity but instead incorporates fun and interactive experiences into her rigorous International Baccalaureate/Dual-Enrolled curriculum thus communicating that she cares enough about them to build in her room a culture of learning AND fun.  
  • She smiles a lot, gently and sweetly lets you know she means business, and then proceeds to take kids on an adventure into German.
  • Oh - and one more thing - she tells her students she loves them.

As a parent, I am excited and thankful that my daughter feels loved by her teacher.  As an administrator I am thrilled that a member of our staff is doing such a good job communicating love to her students.  Aren't we all more patient, more forgiving, and more appreciative of those who we perceive love us?

I have no doubt that you love your students.  Over the next couple weeks while you're on break, relax and enjoy your family.  But when your mind begins to drift back to the classroom, give some thought as to how you're going to communicate that love this next year.  Remember, love is only as powerful as it is felt.  Make sure it's felt in your classroom and your school.

Thanks, Frau Fowler.

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Comment by Kaitlin Nelson on December 20, 2012 at 3:01pm

I do try, that is for sure. :) I think I could improve though ... especially on the "trusting them" piece. I bet if I communicated more about trusting them, maybe they would rise to the occasion and act in a way that deserves my trust. :)
Merry Christmas to you and your family!

Comment by Scott Habeeb on December 20, 2012 at 2:57pm
Kaitlin - she is definitely a good role model for teachers. Somehow, though, I think my Portland friend is probably a pretty good model for communicating love, as well! Have a great Christmas!
Comment by Kaitlin Nelson on December 20, 2012 at 2:54pm

Love this!! She sounds amazing! I want to be like her! :)

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