Qualities of a Lovescaper Educator

It is in my students’ letters, poems and feedback that I find meaning. Teaching for me has always been first and foremost about love, both about teaching students how to love themselves, how to love each other, me loving my students, and instilling in them a love for learning. In the process, I have witnessed the blooming of my students, the infinite possibilities that arise once they believe in themselves, once they cultivate their self-esteem, their self-value and most of all, their self-love. The classroom has always been a safe space, where each one of us (and I say “us” because it is not a hierarchical relationship- I am as much a learner as a teacher) explores meaningful ways of expression, of being in the world, of thinking, of writing, of singing, of dancing, of living- in all the differences that set us apart from each other we shared the most important uniting force, as individuals and as a group, we loved. We loved through validating our opinions, our self-expression, our uniqueness, without prejudice, and without fear.

What is it that makes the classroom a special place where love can be nurtured, taught, learned and practiced? What does love in action look like? I started doing research, reading essays and dissertations from educators who struggled with similar issues. A lot of their work resonated with me, with many of the feelings I have towards education, the world, etc… Yes, I find solace in bell hooks, I find solace in Freire, yes, in other many brilliant hearts that I admire, but suddenly I stopped. I stopped and I realized I was looking in the wrong place, not because these educators’ ideas or techniques were wrong or because I did not agree with them, but instead I felt that as much as I appreciated what I was reading, I could not connect with it because it was outside, an external search for something internal that I have carried with me ever since I can remember. I was not looking in the right place. “What am I doing?” I thought to myself. It is not in academic research where I will find what I am trying to bring forth, to share, to do. As I read through my students’ work, their letters, poems and feedback to me I reconnected back to the meaning of it all, to my passion, my purpose. There, right before my eyes, laid the evidence, the proof as to why education cannot be but a profession of love. “Why do I have such a strong conviction that this is true, that this works?” In academic terms, where is my evidence, my qualitative and quantitative research that proves that my methodology- what I have come to termed Lovescaping- works? It took me a long time to name what I was doing, what I wanted to do: I wanted to love, to transmit that love, and use love as the guiding force for teaching anything, from a language, to a complex biological concept, to even a mathematical formula- if I allowed for our classroom to be the place where our potential as human beings capable of loving ourselves, one another, and the world around us occurred. “Where do we even begin?” I ask myself every day when I think of our world with all its problems. I choose to start here, with love. Love is the beginning, the means and the end. We need schools of love where we can all develop the tools and the skills to love. As I looked at the evidence before me, piles of papers with my students’ words written on them, journals that I have kept throughout the years, I regained hope and I found meaning. It was there, right in front of my eyes, the words I needed to name this methodology, this philosophy, this way of life, of practicing education: it was love, love in action. What are the qualities of the educator and the class environment that make it the ideal place to nurture love? My experience so far as an educator gives me the following framework through which I continue to explore and develop Lovescaping as a philosophy and a way of living and teaching. I read and took note of all the feedback that I have received from my students during the past thirteen years, and I started coding the themes and words that appeared over and over in their writing to me, from the very young to the very old, I found recurring concepts that help me flesh out Lovescaping. They are:

  • Having an open heart and embracing everyone
  • Fighting for peace, justice and reconciliation
  • Having integrity
  • Total submission/dedication
  • Being generous
  • Being unconditional
  • Being non-judgmental
  • Being passionate
  • Building self-confidence
  • Nurturing inspiration
  • Finding good and best in others
  • Finding beauty everywhere
  • Being joyful and happy: showing pleasure and delight in teaching
  • Being kind and friendly
  • Being vulnerable, open, honest, caring
  • Being humble
  • Being patient
  • Sharing: coexisting, collaborating
  • Being considered and treated equally
  • Being tolerant
  • Being respectful
  • Being lovable
  • Being genuine
  • Being courageous
  • Being empathic
  • Creating a vision
  • Bringing light
  • Establishing trust
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: