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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

How To Love Your Students

This author goes more for “tough love” than “the soft bigotry of low expectations”:

Teachers love their students. We see the joy they show every year as students return back to school, despite constant beat downs on their profession and struggles for fairer pay. We see it when they dig into their own pockets to buy whatever their students need. But after traveling the country over the last three years in my mission to ensure all students have equitable access to instruction, I’ve realized that there is an absolute wrong way to love our students. There are countless examples of the wrong kind of love. While training hundreds of teachers on practical strategies to teach critical thinking, a first-grade teacher confessed that she “just couldn’t take seeing her students struggle” because she felt like she was “in the business of building their self-esteem.” A math department chair at a school with dismal math performance on standardized exams shared that it was “impossible” to ask students to do word problems because “they just get too frustrated and give up”… If our love for students is about protecting them from challenges we believe they won’t be able to handle, it’s the wrong kind of love. If our love for students is about helping them to the point where they develop a sense of learned helplessness, it’s the wrong kind of love. And if our love is grounded in the soft bigotry of low expectations, it is the wrong kind of love.
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