We had an intriguing discussion in the staffroom this morning on the back of this article that a coellague had shared, all about what is referred to as “professional love”; the emotional connection between we as professionals and the often vulnerable people with whom we work.
There’s plenty of evidence that supports the fact that it’s all about the relationships that we have with our charges. How we make them feel is an important part of the mix.
The intrigue stemmed from the fact that all of my colleagues had been told "I love you" by one of the children in their class at some point in their teaching careers. They, in turn, had responded saying that they loved them too. Or they’d given them a hug, a squeeze, some often form of professionally affectionate response.
I’ve been called Dad but that’s about as affectionate as it gets.
We talked about how this was almost certainly down to my being a male teacher and the inappropriateness of such a conversation were it to happen..
Does the fact that it’s never happened mean that I’m heartless and the children I teach don’t think I care? Or is it simply the ages that I’ve taught until now? What, indeed, would I say if one of them said they loved me? Do either of us need to say it in order for the sentiment to exist in a professional setting?
I don’t know the answer and neither did my colleagues, but it made me think.