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I Love Teaching, But Must I Also Love The Students?

I walked into the first day of a 10th grade history class at Bellflower High School.  The teacher took the roll and then said this (not an exact quote but an adequate paraphrase): 
“I am Mr. ……  I am the teacher, you are the students.  My job is to teach and your job is to learn.  I am not here to be your friend, just your teacher.”  This was not good for me.  I was 15, had acne, very little self confidence, and was just trying to fit in. I was not cool – that social level was always just out of my grasp.  But teachers had helped cover up my social deficiencies by being my friends.  From kindergarten through the ninth grade I had many really good teachers and never had I been told, right up front, that I should not expect some level of friendship.  I quietly revolted by deciding not to be his friend, and not to do much of anything in his class.


Is it necessary to like students?  I say yes and I would further add that it is critical to love them, to care about them, and to be concerned about them as people not just numbers (that is, if you want them to learn anything).  Someone told me once that a good working definition of ‘charity’ (real, pure love) is to love the unlovable.  I like that.  It is easy to love the lovable – the students who come in with work done and with eagerness to do more, the pretty ones, the handsome ones, the smiling ones, the confident ones.  It is much harder to love the unlovable.  Those are the surly ones, the bored, the disengaged, the lost, those that drag in late and stare at you and dare you to teach them.  The easy thing is to emotionally dismiss them and just work around them.  The hard thing, and the right thing, is to find a way.  Work your way into their life.


I’ve heard a teacher or two say something like this: “They don’t show any concern for me and I really have all I can do to work with the ones that seem interested.”  If you are going to wait for students to show interest in you first you are going to wait a long time.  That is not the natural order of things.  In the New Testament, I John 4:19 we learn the proper order and it is this:  We love the Savior because He first loved us.  The person with the most power in the relationship has to begin the process.  Sometimes the process is quick and often it drags out but I can hardly recall a student (teen-ager, young adult, or adult) that I could not be friends with, and then learn to love, after I made the first move and stayed with it in a variety of ways until we were friends.

Revelation 1-7 Study Guide

I made this handout to help out in my teaching of Revelation chapters 1-7.  I’m hoping it will help answer student questions that may come up.  This handout is geared for teenagers, and all the sources are LDS. ——————– Revelation 1 Revelation 1:13 – One like unto the Son of Man This is Christ. The Book of Revelation Made Easier by David J. Ridges says this phrase was used to…
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Catching up with John

Hello, friends.  It’s been a long time :).  I’m sure you can appreciate why, what with three holidays in a month, plus new pages for all the 2013 stuff, plus 4 family birthdays, plus teaching Seminary, plus two funerals, plus trying to keep my marriage intact during the culmination of an eight month web site upgrade during the past 5 weeks — I’ve been busy.  We have recently begun using…
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Catching up with John

Hello, friends.  It’s been a long time :).  I’m sure you can appreciate why, what with three holidays in a month, plus new pages for all the 2013 stuff, plus 4 family birthdays, plus teaching Seminary, plus two funerals, plus trying to keep my marriage intact during the culmination of an eight month web site upgrade during the past 5 weeks — I’ve been busy.  We have recently begun using…
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Jesus Christ can heal the sick

Primary Talks

[excerpt from a talk by President Hinckley] Jesus came to earth, the Son of God, with power over life and death. He healed the sick, opened the eyes of the blind, caused the lame to walk, and the dead to rise. He was the man of miracles who “went about doing good.” (Acts 10:38.) “So Jesus came again into Cana of Galilee. … And there was a certain nobleman, whose…
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