“Love, love is a verb,
Love is a doing word”
Massive Attack – Teardrop
I read lots of stuff on Twitter about teaching; I even read people’s bio pages when they follow me and I read lots of lines about passion. Passion about children, passion about pedagogy, passion about learning. What I don’t see is a lot about love. You see it is important to love. To love something shows how we really feel. It ignites the passion (can we have passion without love?) and helps us strive for more. Love is also blind at times though. It is often not enough just to love something; human nature makes us look for more than love. But should love not be enough?
I’m going to say this now. I love my job, I really bloody do. Sometimes this love is returned, sometimes not. But it is enough for me that, as I rapidly approach 45 this week, that I love what I do for a living.
This is my second stab at a rewarding career. I stayed at my last one until I fell out of love with it (it took me 24 years, I’m not always quick at decision making) and then thought teaching was a good idea. I didn’t expect to love it. But I do. There are a number of reasons why this is true. I get to work with incredible people every working day who will never cease to amaze. They make me laugh, cry, sing, dance, run, cheer; the whole gamut of human emotion on most days. They also help me to love my job.
But does our love have to be all consuming? Can our love be unconditional whilst recognising there are things we don’t like? I think we can; more importantly, I feel we must think like this to survive in the modern education world. Passion can only take us so far before the flame burns out. To keep going we need to find the long, lingering love. Love lets us deal with the imperfections, the problems and helps us to come out the other side still loving what we do. We can excuse the random paperwork, strange requests from SLT, and overlook the child we cannot seem to help if we learn to really love what we do.
It is hard to love unconditionally though. We have to overlook the flaws at times, recognising that to make wholesale change to the thing we love would risk us falling out of love with it. To realise love is to accept that we cannot achieve perfection, but that we simply do what we can to keep loving.
I hope I can stay in love with teaching. Maybe being new and naive helps. Maybe not being jaded by years of political changes makes me slightly romantic about the whole notion of education. Maybe though, just maybe, I’m enough of a realist to understand what I can control within my own classroom and school, and maybe I’m just determined enough to make that work, whatever the outside world throws at us.
Maybe I just love it…