I keep seeing this image, or versions of it, pop up on Twitter and Facebook, especially in trauma-informed education circles. “Students who are loved come to school to learn, and students who aren’t, come to school to be loved.”
I know it’s “just a quote.” I know it’s well-intentioned. But I have some questions.
- Don’t all students want to learn? Aren’t all kids naturally curious?
- Don’t all kids (and people, really) want to be loved?
- Does this quote suggest that a teacher’s love and a parent’s love are the same thing?
- Do kids have a choice about why (or whether) they come to school?
- Are there really a whole lot of parents who don’t love their kids?
- What effect does it have on my teaching practice if I believe my students’ parents don’t love them?
- How does one tell the difference between a parent who doesn’t love their kids and a parent who loves their kid, but is overwhelmed or under-resourced and struggles to effectively parent?
- How does one tell the difference between a kid who is loved at home and who isn’t?
- Do loved kids always want to learn?
- Should I lower my academic expectations for “unloved” kids because they’re just here to be loved?
- Does trauma only happen to kids in “unloving” households?
- Does being loved at home affect motivation for learning?
- What am I, a teacher, supposed to do with this frame of understanding? How does it impact my practice?
- What would my students’ parents think if they saw me tweet or post this quote?
- Does this quote foster empathy or pity?
I hope you have some questions, too.
It’s “just a quote” but when we see enough of these quotes, they shape our worldview. Just like we teach our students: be critical. Ask questions. Don’t fall for pleasing sentence construction and confuse it with truth.
One thought on “I have some questions”
Thank you. I’ve worked with a lot of kids who have faced serious difficulties in life but I have never met a kid who’s momma didn’t love them. Just because parents prioritize things differently or have their own struggles or are unable to fulfill their parenting duties in some way does NOT mean there is no love.