[I am speaking about ‘values-led leadership’ at a conference next Thursday organised by the West Sussex Deputies Network. I will post my talk on the blog after it has been delivered.As I have been thinking about my talk I pondered the following and I thought I’d share my ponder with you in this rather short blog.]
Should someone go into teaching if they don’t like children? Imagine at a job interview the prospective member of staff is asked: ‘do you like children?’ How many times would we expect the answer: ‘no, I hate them…’ If a teacher stated that they hated children they would probably not be offered the job.
In enlightened times we would probably say: ‘love’ rather than ‘like’. The word ἀγάπη (agápē) was one of four words the Ancient Greeks used for love, the others were: éros, philía, and storgē. Agápē, is best summed up by Thomas Aquinas when he said: ‘To love is to will the good of another’. This ‘unconditional’ love encompasses nurturing and caring, and takes away the superficiality of ‘like’ or the implication of ‘friend’; so I’ll use the word love in this way. Forget any sinister subtext, should teachers love children? Now let’s take this one step further, imagine at a job interview for a management position a teacher is asked not only: ‘do you love children?’ But also: ‘do you love teachers?’ Imagine the look on the face of the interviewee… as she struggles with the question… what should she say? Is this a trick question? Should she say NO, this would show she can take hard decisions, that she can ‘manage’ without going native or being a soft touch? Or should she say YES and show passion for developing the staff in her care…?
Should a leader be devoted to her staff?
Leaders should you love your teachers?