In our assessment-driven era, where schools rely on test scores as the primary measure of a child’s abilities to achieve, we need to remember there is one measure that has stood the test of time, and which has inspired millions of children to achieve against great odds. It is the prime motivator of real accomplishment, and it is called love.
We all blossom when we are in the presence of love. Love looks you in the eyes and says, “You are more than you can ever imagine and I will help you see that.” Given its trust in your innate worth, love lifts you to new heights because it believes anything is possible. Gandhi and Martin Luther King knew it, Mother Teresa knew it, and the force of their love taught millions to achieve the impossible. Every teacher who has stood before a troubled child knows that only the power of love will reach into the heart of that child and work a miracle.
Many teachers are miracle workers and to reach the most reluctant child they know that love is their ‘ultimate curriculum.’ Love brings forth compassion, respect, self-discipline, and a passion for learning. Yet, the miracle of love requires a context, an environment within the school that nurtures openness and understanding between parents and teachers. And within that context creativity and great accomplishments are guaranteed.
We all want our children to achieve, but what is it we really want them to achieve? If we narrow our evaluation of human beings to rigid test standards, we would have marked as failing, many of history’s greatest thinkers and change makers. How do we measure compassion, love, and tolerance, qualities sorely needed in today’s world? Wise teachers are thrilled by the personal and social growth they see in each child, and they know that those qualities may or may not show up on test scores. When teachers see a child showing compassion for another child, they know it is a real ‘win for love.’
Miracle stories abound about teachers who have transformed whole classes using their most powerful teaching tool; Love. I once read that, “Love taken seriously is a radical idea,” and teaching with love produces radical results. But in order to create a learning environment that honors every teacher’s talents, and brings forward every child’s gifts, we need to look deeply into ways that nurture love. Freedom, creativity, and open minds will create the heart-centered schools we need for today’s children.
In a study done of innovative A+ schools around the world, their curriculum emphasized the development of the whole child, and teachers weren’t rushed into ‘covering’ a topic within a day that is sliced and diced into a tight schedule. Teachers were given the latitude and creative freedom to ‘cover less’ in order to help students ‘learn more’ and with greater depth and richness.
Teaching with love is the gift great teachers offer their students. They know that love cannot be packaged and measured by numbers on a piece of paper. We seldom use the word ‘love’ in school, but we know that teachers excel when treated with love, and children who are loved, can change the world.