I think we need to start with the definition of love. For me, the perfect definition of love is found not in Webster, but in 1 Corinthians 13.
Regardless of your religious persuasion, or lack thereof, these words can be embraced by any kind and caring individual. So if you are not inclined to read the Holy Bible, please know that this post is not intended to convert you to Christianity. Rather it is a very fitting description of love that if lived out will enable teachers to demonstrate love in their classrooms and foster a climate of kindness and caring.
So back to the prompt, how can I demonstrate love to my students? If I am patient and kind, not envious, boastful or proud, if I'm humble, not arrogant or self-seeking, not easily angered and not resentful, I am demonstrating love. If I celebrate success, even with those that probably don't deserve it, if I protect, trust, persevere and never lose hope in my students, I am demonstrating love. I don't need to hug them or tell them I love them - I know some elementary teachers do lots of that, but at the secondary level there are not too many "I love you's" thrown around and it's better that way. The love felt in our classes is rarely verbalized, but it's there. Undeniably it's difficult to love the unlovable, but we can't capture kids' hearts and minds if teachers and administrators don't initiate and model kindness and caring. Like any human being, I'm not perfect and I have my days, but I set out to look beyond the external and search for the soft heart that is so often well hidden. I have found that many times when I seek to find that good, I find it.
Actions always speak louder than words and I find that keeping those verses written so long ago in my heart helps me to shine my light even in the darkest moments.While I wouldn't post those bible verses in my room, I think most of my blog's readers are tolerant adults and I trust you will find yourself inspired by those words.
What's love got to do with teaching? Everything.